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New senators sworn in for 2017-2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The victorious from November entered the Senate chambers to be sworn in as Missouri state senators Wednesday by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, the president of the Senate, in what will be one of Kinder’s last acts as an elected official in the state.

Sens. Caleb Rowden, Denny Hoskins, John Rizzo, Bill Eigel and Andrew Koenig were the five new senators sworn into the office for their first four-year term. Sen.-elect Jacob Hummel was absent.

Multiple other senators were sworn into their second terms as Gov.-elect Eric Greitens looked on from the dais behind Kinder. Each newly sworn-in senator was guided down the aisle by a fellow senator and introduced before the lieutenant governor. Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge then officially inducted the 99th Senate of Missouri

Sen. Ron Richard is sworn in as the President Pro Tem of the Senate Jan. 4, 2017. (Travis Zimpfer/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

When Sen. Ron Richard was sworn in as the President Pro Tem of the Senate, he gave a short speech calling on the chamber to conduct its business in a respectable fashion for the coming months.

“These great Capitol decorations are not placed simply for the purpose of expounding beauty and art, but to inspire in succeeding generations of patriotism,” Richard said after gesturing to the Senate chamber itself. “Without a knowledge of history, there can be no patriotism. Without a reverence for our pioneer forbears there can be no respect for the government they sacrificed to build.”

He went on reference Missouri legends like Thomas Benton, Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, and especially Union Gen. Frank Blair who was the first Democrat to give a public speech in Missouri after the Civil War. Richard celebrated Blair’s courage and urged that chamber to follow his example.

“I’m hoping we’re remembered for respecting the institution of the Senate and each other, for restoring civility to the chamber, and that we were able to be passionate about our convictions without being combative with one another.”

After Richard’s speech, the chamber adjourned.

Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, looked forward to working with the Republican supermajority and Greitens to create a better state.

“Standing together on common ground, we can work for the common good and avoid the partisan gridlock that too often plagues Washington D.C,” she said. “This new year brings new opportunities for bipartisan cooperation that moves Missouri forward and puts people before politics.”