Missouri’s legislative branch is officially back to work. State lawmakers were sworn in for the 2019 legislative session Wednesday—and the opening session featured several individuals from Greene County in positions of leadership.
The House formally elected Elijah Haahr, a Republican from Springfield, and he took the gavel moments later. In his first speech, Haahr said his top effort would be economic growth. He cited a need for cutting-edge public education, and said the state must “provide opportunities to those in a broken criminal justice system.”
In the speech, Haahr told his Democratic colleague, new Minority Leader Crystal Quade, also of Springfield, that he will “always value the ideas she and her caucus bring to the table.”
The new speaker pointed out that many leaders in this year’s General Assembly are relatively young, and he teared up when talked about being the home-schooled son, raised by a stay-at-home mother and a father who worked in construction.
Before Haahr was elected, another Greene County lawmaker, Sonya Anderson, R-131, was given the honor of becoming Temporary Speaker of the House, a mostly ceremonial position that conducts the order of the House for a few moments of the General Assembly's first day.
Another tradition is for the Minority Caucus members to nominate their leader for the position of Speaker
of the House, even though it is unlikely that the minority leader will pursue the nomination; this year, Democrat Crystal Quade of Springfield was nominated by one of her Democratic colleagues to be Speaker of the House, but in her remarks, she declined the nomination, calling Haahr her "friend."
Quade is the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives this legislative session.
Missouri’s legislative session runs from January through May of each year.
In the Senate chamber, Greene County saw two new state senators sworn in: Republican Lincoln Hough and Republican Eric Burlison.