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House Leader Offers up Job

January 3, 1996
By: Phill Brooks
State Capital Bureau
A top leader in Missouri's House has offered up his own job in an effort to resolve the disarray among House Democrats that disrupted the opening day of the legislative session. Phill Brooks has the story from Jefferson City:

The speaker pro tem of the Missouri House has offered to step down -- if that's what's needed to unify House Democrats.

Some blacks are demanding a bigger role in the House leadership -- including, according to one, the majority leader's slot.

But a central Missouri woman has the lead in the campaign for that job -- with strong backing from women lawmakers.

So, Jim Barnes suggests his position could be assumed by a black lawmaker:

Actuality: BARNES01.WAV
Contents: [125K WAV file - The House speaker pro tem says he'd be willing to turn his position over to a black or female lawmaker to achieve party unity.]
But Barnes adds one condition - that his resignation would have to be matched with rule changes in the House that would make the process more fair for individual members.

Still, it was a surprising indication of just how strange things have gotten for Missouri's House Democrats.


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