JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On Tuesday Missourians voted in the largest number of Republican House members in state history, a 110 member veto-proof majority. On Wednesday they sorted out who would help lead their historic majority electing John Diehl of Town and Country as Majority Leader of the 97th General Assembly. Diehl, who previously served as chairman of the House Rules Committee, will take on the duties of the position when the House convenes for the 2013 legislative session in January. He replaces state Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who now serves as Speaker of the House.
The members of the new Republican caucus chose between Diehl and Representative Mike Leara of St. Louis County, and according to three sources who are members of the incoming Republican caucus who spoke on the condition of anonymity all informed the SEMO TIMES that Leara got less than 15 votes of the 110 member caucus that actually the votes were not even tallied. One member said that Leara quickly left after the vote, and did not immediately return calls for comment.
Diehl commenting on the impact of the race stated, “I think the race made me a better candidate, and will make me a better leader. I know more about our members and their districts, and I still consider Mike a friend and wish him all the best”.
When asked what his priorities will be out of the gate in January he replied, “We have 34 new members and I want to help each of them as much as I can to get off to a good start. While the voters gave us a super majority they also gave a pretty good margin of victory to Governor Nixon so I want to sit down with him and see where we can work together. However, he ran pretty much as a Republican vowing to cut taxes and constrain the size of government, really the same mandate as many of our members were elected on. I think there will be common ground we can find”.
As House Majority Floor Leader, Diehl will set the legislative calendar and determine which legislation makes it to the floor for debate and when. The Majority Floor Leader also controls the flow of business on the House floor and is considered the second most powerful position in the Missouri House of Representatives.
“With our historic majority in the House, we have the opportunity to do great things for Missouri families and businesses,” said Diehl. “I am excited to work with my friends and colleagues to put forward the kind of pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda the people of Missouri elected us to carry out.”