House Minority Leader hopes to find common ground with Republican supermajority, governor

Kansas City representative Gail McCann Beatty has been elected Minority Floor Leader for the 99th General Assembly when it convenes in January.  She will lead a Democratic minority with 46 members in a chamber of 163 representatives.

Representative Gail McCann Beatty
Representative Gail McCann Beatty

Despite the challenges of being in a superminority and having an incoming governor from the opposing party, McCann Beatty said she looks forward to finding issues all sides can work together on.

“I’m going to reach out to the new governor and try to build a relationship with him and hopefully we can have a conversation about some of the things that are important to our caucus.  I do not believe that everything that we do, that we’ll be on opposite sides,” said McCann Beatty.  “I think there’s probably some things that we may be able to meet in the middle that are just good public policy for the state of Missouri.”

McCann Beatty said she already has a ‘decent’ relationship with House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) and hopes to build on that, and find some things their respective caucuses can work on together.

“We still have a serious issue with infrastructure and that’s something that both sides understand that that’s a problem that we need to address, so the issue is how do we come together and come up with a good solution to resolve that.

“There are some education issues that we still need to address … I think there are still things we need to do to help get all of our districts where they need to be and early childhood education I think is one of those, so I think that’s something that I think both sides can agree that that’s something we need to do and we just need to figure out how do we do that,” said McCann Beatty.

McCann Beatty has been the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.  She said that committee and the budget process have been areas where in the last few years her party has had the ability to accomplish some of its goals despite being in the minority.  She expects that will continue.

McCann Beatty and her predecessor as minority leader, Representative Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis), have both said her party has remained relevant in the House despite being in the superminority.  She expects it will remain so.

“I think we simply have to continue to focus on our message and those things that we find important.  We’ve always stood for the working class, we’ve always stood for quality healthcare, we’ve always stood for quality education, we’ve always stood for a living wage, and those things won’t change.  We’ll continue to put our message out there,” said McCann Beatty.

McCann Beatty takes over for Hummel, who leaves the House due to term limits and will serve in the Missouri Senate beginning in 2017.

House Democrats elected the rest of their leadership team following Tuesday’s election.  The Assistant Minority Leader is Representative Gina Mitten (St. Louis), the Minority Whip is Kip Kendrick (Columbia), the Caucus Chair is Michael Butler (St. Louis), the Caucus Vice Chair is Randy Dunn (Kansas City), the Caucus Secretary is DaRon McGee (Kansas City), and the Policy Chair is Deb Lavender (Kirkwood).