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House Republicans Choose Leaders

Just one day after winning additional seats in the Missouri House of Representatives, Republicans met in Jefferson City to choose their leaders for the upcoming legislative session. The election of legislative leaders by the majority party is important because these individuals determine the legislative agenda and control which bills come up for debate. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

WHEN REPUBLICANS EMERGED FROM THEIR CAUCUS MEETING, THEY HAD CHOSEN ROD JETTON AS THEIR SPEAKER.

JETTON WAS ELECTED TO THE HOUSE IN 2000 AND REPRESENTS AN AREA ABOUT THREE HOURS SOUTH OF ST LOUIS AND WEST OF CAPE GIRARDEAU.

HE HAS SERVED THE LAST TWO YEARS AS SPEAKER PRO TEM.

AT A PRESS CONFERENCE IN JEFFERSON CITY WEDNESDAY, HE NOTED THAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE INCREASED THEIR MAJORITY SINCE GAINING CONTROL OF THE 163 SEAT HOUSE IN 2000.

BLUNT, A REPUBLICAN DEFEATED DEMOCRAT CLAIRE MC-CASKILL.

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, REPUBLICAN LEADERS IN THE HOUSE HAD SEVERAL PARTISAN DISPUTES WITH DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN.

WITH REPUBLICANS CONTROLLING BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, JETTON SAYS HE EXPECTS TO TACKLE SEVERAL KEY ISSUES, INCLUDING LIMITING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWSUITS AND OTHER LIABILITY LITIGATION.

THE REPUBLICAN SLATE OF LEADERS INCLUDES THREE REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOUTHWEST MISSOURI..

BOB DIXON OF SPRINGFIELD WAS ELECTED CAUCUS CHAIR.

HE EXPLAINS WHAT HE'LL BE DOING IN THAT POSITION.

DIXON SAYS THERE ARE BENEFITS FOR THE CONSTITUENTS OF LEGISLATIVE LEADERS.

DIXON SAYS THERE'S A REASON SOUTHWEST MISSOURI IS WELL-REPRESENTED AMONG THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP.

ALSO THIS WEEK, SENATE REPUBLICANS MET AND CHOSE MIKE GIBBONS OF SUBURBAN ST LOUIS AS THEIR LEADER...HE WILL BE SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM.

THE NEW MAJORITY LEADER IN THE SENATE IS CHARLIE SHIELDS OF ST JOSEPH.

SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE MEETING THIS AFTERNOON TO ELECT LEADERS.

AND HOUSE DEMOCRATS WILL MEET TOMORROW TO CHOOSE THEIR LEADERS.

AND WE'LL BE BRINGIN YOU A STORY ON THE HOUSE DEMOCRATS, THEIR LEADERS AND THEIR PRIORITIES FOR THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION.