JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Republican members of the Missouri House met Wednesday afternoon to choose their leadership for the upcoming session — and picked Rep. Dean Plocher to serve as majority floor leader for the next two years.
“We’re looking back at our past priorities and to the future,” Plocher told The Missouri Times in an interview following the caucus vote. “We anticipate dabbling in COVID liability and education reform, and I think it’s important for the caucus to be able to weigh in on these issues and bringing the newer members into the discussion as well.”
The Caucus met for more than an hour the day after the 2020 elections before deciding between Plocher and Rep. Curtis Trent for majority floor leader. Plocher ultimately prevailed with “at least 51 percent” of the vote, according to his count.
Plocher announced his bid last year, saying his experience leading the House General Laws Committee would make him a good candidate for the job. He has served HD 89, encompassing Town and Country, since 2015 when he won a special election. He’s an attorney and former municipal judge.
Plocher said the process of vying for the leadership position had been a tough but valuable experience.
“I’m relieved, “ he said. “It’s been an 18-month commitment, meeting with other [representatives] and traveling and being away from home. I’m glad our caucus remains in the majority, and I look forward to working with other members to pass important legislation.”
Trent was the first to formally announce his intent to run last year, saying he would “be comfortable getting up and going to war for the caucus every day and for the House and making the goals of the caucus my own.”
Trent was first elected to represent Springfield’s HD 133 in 2016.
The Republican Caucus chose a bevy of other leaders Wednesday as well, including Rep. Hannah Kelly as assistant floor leader, Rep. Sara Walsh as caucus chair, Rep. Allen Andrews as caucus whip, and Rep. Ann Kelly as caucus secretary. Rep. John Wiemann was chosen to continue to serve as speaker pro tem.
“Missourians sent back a super majority to the state house and we are going to deliver on an agenda that strengthens our economy, defends law and order and keeps Missourians safe,” Wiemann said on social media. “I am grateful to my fellow Republican legislators for again choosing me to serve as Speaker Pro Tem in our leadership election.”
“It’s incredibly humbling to be chosen,” Walsh said. “I look forward to working with all the members in our caucus as a team. In these positions, you work to serve the caucus, and I plan on being a servant leader just as I have been all my life.”
Walsh has represented the HD 50 since 2017. She previously worked with the Missouri Pharmacy Association and the State Auditor’s Office.
Rep. Willard Haley said the vote was an important part of the legislative process.
“Today was an exciting day for the Majority Caucus,” Willard said. “We elected our leadership for the year, and I think we made the right choices. I’m very pleased with the leaders we elected. It’s important that we all work together to get things accomplished next session and I know we’re all excited for the next year.”
Kelly was chosen over Rep. Jeff Porter for the assistant majority floor leader position. During her time in the House, she has focused on legislation involving families and agriculture and has served on the Budget Committee.
Rep. Rob Vescovo was chosen last year to serve as the next House Speaker.