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Vescovo officially elected Speaker of the House

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri House convened for the beginning of the 2021 legislative session Wednesday, officially electing Rep. Rob Vescovo as Speaker of the House for the 101st General Assembly.  

Vescovo discussed in-person education, the state’s response to the pandemic, COVID liability, and the economy during his speech before the body, expressing hope that the parties could work together to address these issues.

“As we tackle these issues and many others, we will have disagreements, we will need to work together to find a compromise, and there may be times that we cannot find the common ground we need to satisfy everyone,” he said. “I can assure you we will not fail to have the conversation simply because the road to success is a difficult one.”

House Democrats nominated Minority Floor Leader Rep. Crystal Quade to vie for the position but she declined, referencing the day’s events in Washington D.C

“If Missouri House Democrats were to assert that we actually won a majority of House seats in the last election, you would call us delusional, and you would be right,” she said. “Yet there are those who claim – without a shred of evidence to support their claims and overwhelming evidence to disprove them – that the departing incumbent president won an election he actually lost by wide margins in both the electoral and popular vote. This claim isn’t just a delusion; it is something far more dangerous.”

Incumbent Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann was re-elected to a second term in his position, holding his seat by a near-unanimous vote. 

The day’s events lasted nearly three hours, as representatives were sworn in by class and their families were rotated in and out of the upper galleries to accommodate social distancing recommendations. 

In the upper chamber, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz was unanimously re-elected to serve in that leadership position. 

Following adjournment, Vescovo — alongside Wiemann and new Majority Floor Leader Rep. Dean Plocher — released a statement on the day’s events in the nation’s capital.

“The violence and destruction that occurred today in our nation’s capital is unacceptable,” the statement read. “Peaceful protests are an important part of free speech, but violence can never be tolerated.”

Vescovo was first elected to represent HD 112 in 2014 and is beginning his final term in the House. He served as Majority Floor Leader in the lower chamber over his third term. Republicans initially named him Speaker-elect in 2019.

Wiemann has served in the House since his first election in 2014. He assumed the Speaker Pro Tem seat in 2019.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.