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Trent announces bid for floor leader, promises to act as ‘servant’ of House

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Curtis Trent is officially running for House floor leader, maintaining he wishes to be a “servant” of the legislative body.

Trent, a Republican serving his second term in the state House, said he views himself as in the middle of his caucus, which puts him in a unique position to “draw people together and find consensus positions for issues that might be contentious.” Additionally, Trent said he would be able to fight for his caucus’s wishes if need be.

“I believe that the floor leader position is a position that really focuses and channels the will of the caucus and the House generally,” Trent told The Missouri Times. “This caucus, I feel a lot of camaraderie with them. I feel like philosophically and politically and policy-wise, I’m very close to the center of the caucus.”

Rep. Curtis Trent

“I feel I 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 added. “I do think that’s part of the role as well: it’s sort of a self-sacrificial role that you put your own policy agenda somewhat to the background and you work on the policy of the caucus and the people that you represent.”

So far, he’s the first person to formally announce a bid for floor leader.

Trent’s taken on several hefty pieces of legislation he said he’s proud of during his time in office, from Hailey’s Law — which increases the speed at which law enforcement can issue Amber Alerts — to a rural broadband bill — which Trent said was a “unifying issue” in trying to free up a sequestered resource for rural co-ops.

Trent also touted his work with the budget during his time in office.

“I feel our budgets have been very even-handed, tried to address a lot of different priorities of the state, tried to spend the people’s money wisely,” he said.

The Republican praised the leadership of the last two floor leaders — now-Sen. Mike Cierpiot and Rob Vescovo, the current Majority Floor Leader who is running for House Speaker — but maintained the leader should “bring their own unique perspective to the role.” However, he said his personal style would most likely align more with that of Vescovo’s.

As for what makes him uniquely qualified for the job, Trent pointed to his upbringing in rural Missouri while he currently represents suburban Springfield. He also noted his time as a congressional staffer in Washington, D.C., working for U.S. Rep. Billy Long.

“I spent four years in Washington as a policy staffer so I feel like that, in the era of term limits, is an addition of policy experience and political experience that not everybody has,” Trent said.

The floor leader vote will be held after the 2020 election.

OUTSTANDING FRESHMEN 2018: Rep. Curtis Trent