JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, is campaigning throughout the caucus to once again lead the chamber as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader. Cierpoit said he believed he could continue to help the caucus operate with more cohesion in the coming term.
“The nature of what we do is confrontational,” Cierpiot said. “We come down here to fight for our issues, but at the same time, that can’t become a personal thing. It can’t become a personal vendetta. We need to make this a respectful process.
Cierpiot was one of the primary drivers behind this year’s veto override effort of a tax cut bill that was ultimately successful. And while he said he planned on assuming the same role this summer, he said the process would begin “much faster than last year.”
“We’re going to be ready as soon as he starts to veto things,” Cierpiot said. “We’re going to work with bill sponsors and caucus staff and get info to members as fast as possible so they can talk to their constituents and make up their own minds. We’ll have 110 members by veto session, so I think the potential for a lot of vetoes is there.”
Cierpiot isn’t looking to move into the Majority Floor Leader position. Rep. Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, is seeking the nod and is the heavy favorite. Cierpiot said one of the primary reasons he didn’t look for the job was because of his respect for Richardson.
“Todd is an incredibly talented young man,” Cierpiot said. “And one of the reasons I didn’t seek to run was because I think he’s going to do a great job. And working with Todd and [Speaker Elect] John [Diehl], I think, is going to make for a very cohesive caucus.”
Cierpiot said he wanted to see his caucus focus less on issues that divide them and more on the few issues where there is broader consensus. He said that members needed to remember that everybody has the same right to vote yes or no on an issue.
“We’ve got rural folks and urban folks, so there’s going to be differences of opinion,” Cierpiot said. “You’ve got guys in labor districts and guys in districts that are much different. We need to respect that each of us is elected, each of us serves 37,000 Missourians, and each of us has our own positions. We need to be mindful that respect is key. I think respect for each other will help our caucus function even better.”
Some have rumored that Cierpiot would leave the Assistant Floor Leader position to accept a top chairmanship, two other caucus members then announced runs. It’s still unclear whether they will continue to seek the position with Cierpiot seeking reelection.
Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @CMReischman