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New Missouri Senate majority leader sees ballot initiatives and education as top issues | KCUR 89.3

A Republican from northeastern Missouri gained a hard-fought race Thursday to turn into the subsequent majority leader within the state Senate.

Shelbina’s Cindy O’Laughlin beat Jefferson City’s Mike Bernskoetter. As Majority Leader, O’Laughlin will likely be accountable for deciding which payments will likely be thought of on the ground in 2023. And she’ll play an vital function in maintaining the peace in a GOP faction that hasn’t all the time gotten alongside.

“And I’ve been trying to work with people to find common ground so we can move forward,” O’Laughlin stated. “And I believe individuals noticed that and thought, ‘Okay, perhaps Cindy generally is a sort of bridge for everybody.’ And I hope so.”

O’Laughlin has been a significant political determine in Northeast Missouri politics for a number of many years, usually taking part in a behind-the-scenes function in supporting different GOP candidates. In 2018, she emerged from a crowded Republican main to symbolize Missouri’s 18th District, which encompasses most of northeastern Missouri.

Since getting into the Senate, O’Laughlin, a former faculty board member, has made education coverage a main focus. She stated she expects this matter to be a broad matter of dialog in 2023, notably in relation to payments which will recruit extra academics. And O’Laughlin additionally stated there will likely be an investigation into why some districts have colleges solely 4 days per week.

“I can’t imagine taking a day off a week will boost our scores,” O’Laughlin stated. “So those are some of the things I think we need to look at.”

O’Laughlin additionally stated that the passage of a constitutional modification legalizing leisure marijuana ought to immediate dialogue about altering the unsolicited software course of. Some Republicans have wished to boost the voting threshold required to go a constitutional modification, or improve the variety of signatures required to get one thing achieved earlier than voters do.

“Really, the biggest downside to this is that the Legislature has no way of adjusting anything,” O’Laughlin stated. “Once it’s in the Constitution, it’s in. And that’s why I think we’re going to look at some reforms to the unsolicited application process.”

Major modifications would doubtless should go earlier than Missourians since they’d require a constitutional modification. O’Laughlin stated she wanted to seek the advice of with Senate analysis on when modifications would go into impact.

Senate Majority Leader Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, looks on at his team Monday, August 8, 2022 during the Bi-State Softball Showdown at Busch Stadium.

Brian Munoz


Public Radio St. Louis

Senate Majority Leader Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, seems on at his staff Monday, August 8, 2022 in the course of the Bi-State Softball Showdown at Busch Stadium.

O’Laughlin would be the quantity two Republican within the Senate behind Caleb Rowden of Columbia, who gained the Pro Tem presidency on Thursday. Rowden has usually clashed with members of the now-defunct Conservative Caucus, notably on a Congressional redistribution card.

In an announcement, Rowden stated his caucus will “work together in the Senate to make Missouri the best place in the country to live, work and raise a family.”

“The next generation of Missourians deserve more opportunities than we have today,” Rowden stated. “I will work every day to make that hope a reality.”

Senate minority John Rizzo of Independence was additionally re-elected to his management function. Des Peres GOP Rep. Dean Plocher is prone to turn into Speaker of the House subsequent yr — with Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade of Springfield returning for a closing time period in her management place.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Copyright 2022 Public Radio St. Louis. To see extra, go to St. Louis Public Radio.

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