From Missouri Digital News:
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed


MDN Help

MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News
MDN Menu

MDN Home

Journalist's Creed


MDN Help

MDN.ORG Mo. Digital News Missouri Digital News MDN.ORG: Mo. Digital News MDN.ORG: Missouri Digital News

Republicans announce new House leadership

November 06, 2002
By: Robert Sandler
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Republicans nominated Catherine Hanaway to become the first woman speaker in the history of the Missouri House on Wednesday, a day after the GOP took control of the chamber in a landslide election win.

Hanaway, of St. Louis County, said her party wants to work with the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic Gov. Bob Holden to keep an eye on how the state functions.

"We're here because Missouri has given us a mandate for change," she said. "State government has got to start living up to its promises."

On Tuesday, voters gave Republicans a huge mandate to rule both the Missouri House and Senate -- something not seen since the Harry Truman era.

Election results put the House at a 90-73 Republican advantage, joined by a 20-14 advantage in the Senate. The GOP picked up 14 House seats and two Senate seats.

While Republicans had been saying long before this week's elections that they were confident of picking up a few seats, Tuesday's wins were far beyond their wildest dreams.

Having control of the House means the GOP will set the legislative calendar, decide which bills to debate and when, and control committee assignments.

Hanaway said she expected Republicans would trim the number of committees, but she refused to name specific committees. Currently, the House has 45 standing committees.

The GOP won control of the Senate in a special election last year for the first time since 1952. With this week's wins in the House, the GOP will control that chamber for the first time since 1954. Republicans had not controlled both chambers at the same time since 1948.

Mary Still, spokeswoman for Holden, said the governor was both surprised and disappointed by the Republican victories. The office turned down media requests to interview the governor.

While the 2000 elections caused allegations of scandal and vote fraud largely in the St. Louis area, this week's elections passed without a major problem.

But the election results are not yet official. Secretary of State Matt Blunt, a Republican, said he expected to certify the election results in about two weeks.

After that happens, Holden needs to sign off as well. His spokeswoman said Wednesday that Holden would do so as soon as Blunt sent him the results.

One of the biggest issues of the coming legislative session is expected to be a massive budget deficit. Hanaway said she wanted to look at the state's budget numbers more closely now and determine the best way to address the problem.

Hanaway also discussed the August failure of Proposition B, which would have raised the state sales tax and gasoline tax for transportation. The measure failed by nearly a three-to-one margin.

But she said the GOP would not be deterred in their efforts.

"We need to keep our heads down, our mouths shut and work hard on the most pressing problems facing Missouri," Hanaway said.

House Republicans also chose Rod Jetton of Marble Hill to be speaker pro tem, Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau to be majority floor leader and Mark Wright of Springfield as assistant majority floor leader. All the nominations, including that of Hanaway as speaker, must be approved by the full House when it convenes in January.

House Democrats and Senate Republicans and Democrats will each meet Thursday to choose their own respective leadership.