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House Democrats Choose Leader

Republicans and Democrats in the Missouri House of Representatives have chosen who they want to lead them in the upcoming legislative session. Republicans retain control of the House and increased their majority with last week's election. Republican lawmakers have chosen Rod Jetton to be their Speaker. KSMU brought you the comments of Republican leaders recently. Now KSMU'S Missy Shelton reports on House Democrats and their plans for the session.

FOR THE LAST YEAR, DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE RICK JOHNSON HAS LED THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS.

THIS YEAR, HE'S STEPPING ASIDE AND JEFF HARRIS WILL BE THE MINORITY FLOOR LEADER.

BUT I RECENTLY TALKED WITH JOHNSON ABOUT WHERE THE DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN AND WHERE THEY'RE GOING.

HE EXPLAINS HOW HE FELT TO SEE REPUBLICANS INCREASE THEIR MAJORITY BY WINNING HOUSE RACES AROUND THE STATE.

NOT ONLY DID REPUBLICANS INCREASE THEIR MAJORITIES IN THE STATE HOUSE AND SENATE, THEY ALSO WON THE GOVERNOR'S RACE.

REPUBLICAN MATT BLUNT DEFEATED DEMOCRAT CLAIRE MC-CASKILL.

MC-CASKILL UNSEATED THE INCUMBENT BOB HOLDEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN AUGUST.

JOHNSON SAYS THE PRESSURE'S ON THE REPUBLICANS NOW THAT THEY HAVE CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH.

EVEN THOUGH DEMOCRATS ARE IN THE MINORITY, JOHNSON SAYS THEY HAVE AN AGENDA THEY'LL WORK ON DURING THE SESSION.

JOHNSON SAYS DEMOCRATS ALSO ARE INTERESTED IN ADDRESSING THE SKYROCKETING MALPRACTICE INSURANCE RATES THAT ARE DRIVING SOME DOCTORS OUT OF MISSOURI.

HE SAYS HE HOPES TO WORK WITH REPUBLICANS ON LEGISLATION THAT LIMITS MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS AND CREATES ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.

BUT JOHNSON SAYS HE DOESN'T EXPECT IT TO PASS THIS SESSION BECAUSE OF POLITICS.

AS FOR THE LEADERSHIP IN THE SENATE, MIKE GIBBONS WAS CHOSEN BY REPUBLICANS TO SERVE AS PRESIDENT PRO TEM.

AND MAIDA COLEMAN WAS CHOSEN BY HER DEMOCRATIC COLLEAGUES TO SERVE AS MINORITY FLOOR LEADER.