By Susan Redden
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Everything points to a busy legislative session for Joplin-area lawmakers who returned to Jefferson City in the past week.
In addition to other duties, all members of the local delegation received assignments as chairmen or vice chairmen of House committees.
Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, said he is especially pleased with his appointment as chairman of the Veterans Committee. A six-year veteran of the Navy, Davis was vice chairman of the panel last year and has handled several pieces of legislation aimed at helping veterans, especially those who are deployed or just returning from military service.
“It’s an honor to serve those who serve and protect us,” Davis said.
In addition, he’s on the Utilities Committee and the Small Business Committee, which also are priorities, he said.
Rep. Bill Lant, R-Anderson, is the newly named chairman of the Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee. He also serves on the Transportation Committee and the Professional Registration and Licensing Committee, and he is vice chairman of the Special Select Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, a committee he urged the leadership to appoint.
Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, is the new chairman of the Agriculture Policy Committee. He also is a member of the Appropriations Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Corrections Committee.
Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, is vice chairman of the Downsizing State Government Committee and is a member of the Education Appropriations Committee.
Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, also is a member the Downsizing State Government Committee, along with the Health Care Policy Committee, and the Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee. He is vice chairman of the Retirement Committee.
The appointments were announced during the past week by House Speaker Tim Jones. The only assignments that had been made earlier were for the House Budget Committee, where Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, is vice chairman. That will put him in attendance at all meetings of the House appropriations committees. He also is chairman of the Fiscal Review Committee.
State Lincoln Days
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., described as “a leading voice against Obamacare” in the Senate, will be the keynote speaker at the Missouri Lincoln Days celebration, set for Feb. 15-17 in St. Louis.
An orthopedic surgeon, Barrasso has served in the Senate since 2007 and is chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
Ed Martin, newly elected state GOP chairman, said the annual event “will be a time for Republicans to come together to celebrate what we have accomplished together and begin mapping our strategy for 2014, 2016 and beyond.”
According to a release from the party, Barrasso’s visit will come at a time when Republican supermajorities in the Missouri House and Senate “are looking to reinstate laws that prevent frivolous lawsuits that drive good doctors out of the state.”
The senator said he is looking forward to meeting conservative volunteers whose work has turned Missouri into “a solidly red state.”
That conservative stance was cited in a letter to GOP supporters that went out last week from Martin, after his election as party chairman. He cited his tea party roots, saying he was among those who in 2009 gathered under the Gateway Arch as part of a movement “that would shake the progressive establishment.”
Martin previously was chief of staff for former Gov. Matt Blunt. He resigned after a controversy involving the handling of emails under Missouri’s Sunshine Law, and lawsuits filed in the wake of the flap cost the state $2 million. He later ran for Congress, and in 2012 he unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster.
Martin said he would be a zealous advocate for the party, and that opponents “hold the high ground in politics, culture and the media.” Being surrounded means the party “can advance in any direction,” he said, adding, “Mount up.”
Susan Redden is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at email@example.com or 417-623-3480, ext. 7258. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Redden.