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Rizzo replaces Walsh as minority floor leader in Senate


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Democratic state Sen. John Rizzo is the newest minority floor leader following the resignation of Sen. Gina Walsh. 

Walsh, who is finishing her final year as the senator for SD 13 due to term limits, made the announcement from the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon. She said she plans to continue out her term as a senator but wished to transfer the leadership position to Rizzo while she was still in office. 

“Senator Walsh has been an unwavering fighter for working families, public schools, and vulnerable Missourians throughout her tenure in the legislature, and it is an honor to continue these efforts and more as Democratic Leader,” Rizzo, from SD 11, said in a statement. 

Walsh has been a stalwart advocate for labor issues while serving in the General Assembly. She recently led a marathon filibuster against a bill that would have changed how asbestos claims are handled in Missouri.

Walsh previously served four terms in the House and is a retired member of the Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers No. 1. She is also the former president of the Missouri State Building & Construction Trades Council (AFL-CIO) and president of the National Labor Caucus of State Legislators. 

Following the announcement, Majority Floor Leader Caleb Rowden said he has “enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with [his] counterpart.” 

“She is a capable and courageous leader,” Rowden said on social media. “While disagreeing often, we respect each other immensely. Looking forward to continuing that relationship with [Rizzo] in his new role.” 

Rizzo, who previously served as the assistant minority floor leader, was elected to the Jackson County seat in 2016. He also served in the House where he was the minority whip. 

“Missouri families are tired of having a legislature that hands out favors to the special interests while everyday citizens get left behind,” Rizzo said. “Across the state, more Missourians are getting on board with Democratic efforts to make health care more affordable, government more accountable, and an economy that works for everyone. The Democratic Caucus is fighting for commonsense values in the Senate, and we look forward to achieving more victories for Missouri families.”