Missouri’s House Speaker is pleased with a general election that saw his party retain supermajorities in both his chamber and the state senate, as well as in the governor’s office and other statewide offices.
Republicans will have 117 members in the state House and 24 in the Senate.
Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) said he has spoken several times, including last night, with Governor-Elect Eric Greitens (R) and would meet with him soon.
“I think we’re going to find a tremendous amount of common ground and it’s built around a common vision for what Missouri looks like,” said Richardson, “That’s a Missouri that respects and protects individual freedom. That’s a Missouri that has a stronger, more vibrant, dynamic economy than we have today. It’s a Missouri that has a strong education system for every Missourian no matter where they were born or where they live.”
Richardson said for his party to have control of both chambers and the governor’s office presents something of a mandate to get things done.
“I’ve been very proud of the record of accomplishments of this General Assembly over the six years that I’ve had the chance to be here,” said Richardson, “The ability that we’ll have over the next two years to affect long-lasting positive change for the state is a unique opportunity and we’re going to be ready to seize on that as soon as the General Assembly comes back in January.”
Richardson said his chamber’s top priorities will be issues that his party believes will improve Missouri’s economy.
“That means a universe of labor reform, tort reform, and education reform,” said Richardson, “I think if we’ll focus on those issues as well as removing some of the government barriers to innovation and economic development, we’ll have the workings of a pretty good agenda to start with
Richardson expects that will include passage of legislation that supporters call, “right to work,” which aims to prevent employees from being required to pay union dues as a condition of employment.
“A lot of this election cycle was on that issue,” said Richardson. “There were clear contrasts between Governor-Elect Greitens and Attorney General Koster on that issue, and I think there’s always been and continues to be strong support for right-to-work in the General Assembly. I know it’s an issue that Eric [Greitens] cares deeply about and so I anticipate that will be something that moves its way through the General Assembly very quickly.”
Richardson said ethics reform will also be a priority early in the 2016 session, as legislators again attempt to pass a ban on gifts from lobbyists to lawmakers.