Two legislators from southeast Missouri will serve as the leaders of the Missouri
Legislature during the upcoming 96th session of the Missouri General Assembly.
Newly elected legislators met in the State Capitol this past week
to select their
officers following an election in which Republicans made historic gains in the Missouri
Senate and House of Representatives.
The Senate Majority Caucus selected Senator Rob Mayer
of Dexter as the President
Pro Tem of the Senate, the top leadership post. Republicans gained three seats
in the State Senate, giving them an extremely commanding majority of 26-8. This
is the largest majority Republicans have ever held in the upper chamber. One of
the seats gained was that of a retiring senator who was very liberal and very pro-abortion.
Senator Mayer, an attorney in private practice, has previously served as Chairman
of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
He has been the leader of pro-life efforts
in the Missouri Senate. Mayer was the sponsor of the major pro-life bill adopted
this past session which greatly strengthened Missouri's informed consent law on
abortion. He is a very committed Christian who is expressive about his faith, and
is highly respected by his colleagues.
Mayer won the top Senate spot over Senator Kevin Engler, the current Senate Majority
Leader, who has also been a good friend of the pro-life and pro-family movement.
Senate Republicans chose Senator Tom Dempsey of St. Charles to serve as the new
Senate Majority Leader. Minority Caucus Democrats retained Senator Victor Callahan
of Independence as the Minority Leader, who has had a pro-life voting record.
The House Majority Caucus voted to elect Representative Steve Tilley
as the new Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.
an astonishing 17 seats in the House, and now hold a very decisive 106-57 majority.
This is the largest number of seats the Republican Party has ever held in the Missouri
House. Five state representatives who are supporters of legalized abortion were
defeated, and two retiring House members who were not supporters of the pro-family
movement were replaced by conservative candidates.
Tilley, who owns an optometry practice, is primarily a fiscal conservative, but
has been supportive of pro-life and pro-family initiatives. He played a crucial
role this past session in the passage of legislation regulating sexually oriented
businesses in the state. Representative Shane Schoeller of Willard was chosen as
Speaker Pro Tem, the number two position in the House. Representative Tim Jones
of Eureka will hold the influential position of Majority Leader. Both Schoeller
and Jones are strong pro-life and pro-family allies. Minority Caucus Democrats
chose Mike Talboy of Kansas City as Minority Leader.
The gains by the Republican Party in the Legislature were so substantial that Republicans
are on the brink of having veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
more than enough votes (with 26) to override a Governor's veto in the Senate, where
23 votes are required. They are three votes short of the number needed to override
in the House, where 109 votes are required to overturn a gubernatorial veto.
The conservative gains in the Missouri House bolster the strength of the pro-life
and pro-family movement in that chamber, where tremendous success has already been
achieved through bipartisan support. Backers of Senator Mayer's successful bid for
Senate leader have been pressing for a more aggressive conservative agenda in the
Senate, where the movement has hit some roadblocks in recent years. It is hoped
that the religious liberty amendment promoted by the Missouri Family Policy Council
will finally obtain passage in the Senate this session.
Republican gains in the Missouri General Assembly were likely assisted by the potent
campaign run by Congressman Roy Blunt
in winning the U.S. Senate seat of retiring
Senator Kit Bond. Blunt defeated Secretary of State Robin Carnahan by 14 percentage
points, an amazing margin for a U.S. Senate race in Missouri. Blunt will be a reliable
and effective voice for pro-life and pro-family priorities in the Senate, and the
strongest such voice since Jim Talent served in that chamber. Carnahan was highly
trumpeted by national pro-abortion interests, and her defeat is a major setback
for pro-abortion strategists in Missouri.
There is no question that boiling discontent over the economy and President Obama's
health care legislation played a pivotal role in the election outcome in Missouri
and across the country.
But moral concerns also were prominent, with evangelical
Christians highly disturbed by the anti-life and anti-family policies of the current
Congress and Administration. Post-election polling by the Faith and Freedom Coalition
estimates that 32% of all the voters who turned out to cast ballots last week were
evangelical Christians or self-identified conservative Christians.
There is little question that the dramatic change in the composition of Congress
will put the skids on the militant pro-abortion and pro-"gay rights" agenda championed
by President Obama, Senate Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But
whether Republican leaders will truly advance legislative objectives of the social
conservative community is yet to be seen. Republicans have had a history of placing
such issues on the back burner once they have gained power.
We must continue to pray that many of the newly elected legislators in Washington
and Jefferson City will distinguish themselves as true Christian statesmen and stateswomen.
We must also pray that incumbent legislators will become more emboldened to proclaim
their Christian values and principles in their public deliberations.
We pray that Godly convictions will not only be welcomed in the halls of our state
and federal capitol buildings, but that God and His Wisdom will be consulted as
legislators go about the business of governing. May politicians and political parties
realize that while the reins of government may be in their hands, there is only
One who carries government on His Shoulders.