Richard begins term as Missouri House Speaker

Missouri Southern alumnus Ron Richard was officially selected Speaker by the Missouri House of Representatives today and promptly outlined a plan for helping the state’s families.

During his acceptance speech, Richard (R-Joplin) discussed his “Family Recovery Plan” and “conservative beliefs” that will guide his leadership of Missouri’s lower house.

The recovery plan includes four main points:

•Enhancing job creation efforts

•Simplifying the tax code to provide tax relief for Missourians

•Addressing health care issues such as access, affordability and transparency and accountability of insurance companies, providers and hospitals

•Investing in alternative energy sources to reduce Missouri’s dependence on foreign oil

“I believe if you give Missourians the opportunity to obtain good-paying jobs that so many of the problems they face will be addressed,” Richard said. “Someone with a quality job has a greater sense of pride and fulfillment as they are able to earn a meaningful income, put food on the table and provide for their children.”

The new Speaker asked lawmakers to accomplish this by expanding the Quality Jobs Program.

“We’re in a global economy so we must do everything we can to ensure Missouri is the clear choice,” he said. “That means providing innovative and new ideas to create jobs and training our workforce to be ready to fill the jobs they generate.”

Richard proposes a modest tax cut as part of his plan.

“These are dollars that flow back into our economy and offset any revenue we may lose as a result of the tax cut,” he said.

As part of his health plank, Richard said efficiency and cost containment are the keys.

“Our healthcare system must be one that provides quality care to those in need,” he said. “But it must do so without bankrupting our state. And we must continue to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the system.”

Some of the loudest applause from House Republicans came on the subjects of gun rights and abortion.

“This year we also will reaffirm our commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn,” he said. “We also know that Missourians want a free and open society where they have the right to carry a gun.”

Joining Richard in House leadership is Rep. Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs), who was elected to another two-year term as House Speaker Pro Tem.

Today was the opening session of the 95th Missouri General Assembly. New and returning lawmakers were sworn in during the session. Gov.-Elect Jay Nixon will be inaugurated Jan. 12.