Tuesday, Nov. 13 2012 5:51PM
Cierpiot elected to House leadership
Local tie could help Lee’s Summit
By Russ Pulley
One day after Missourians elected a record number of Republicans to the Missouri House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Cierpiot of Lee’ Summit was selected to serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader.
Securing the support of the 110-member Republican caucus, Cierpiot will replace state Rep. Jeanie Riddle of Mokane, who is vacating the position to chair the House Rules Committee.
Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads said Cierpiot’s election would help this area because local officials will have someone they can rely on to get a realistic assessment of whether legislation which would affect Lee’s Summit will pass.
“Being in a leadership position gives you some insights as to what’s going on that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t in that leadership position,” Rhoads said.
Cierpiot, in his second term, said he plans to work closely with Majority Floor Leader John Diehl, Jr., from Town and Country, to advance a pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda.
“I’m so honored and excited to have the support of my colleagues for a position that plays a critical role in determining the legislative agenda of the Missouri House,” Cierpiot said. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us, but I’m confident we can advances policies that will improve the quality of life for all Missouri families.”
He said Missourians spoke loudly and clearly by voting in the largest Republican majority in state history.
“They want small but efficient government that makes fiscally responsible decisions with their tax dollars and has a commitment to creating an environment where good-paying jobs are plentiful,” Cierpiot said. “Over the next two years I will work with my colleagues in the House to make our great state even greater.”
Cierpiot said he has begun meeting with area mayors to get their ideas on legislation that could help this area compete with Kansas.
“I’m asking them what we can do to level the playing field without collapsing state revenue,” Cierpiot said. He said that Kansas has been overly aggressive in cutting its state budget and “in the long run it will hurt them, but in the short run it hurts us.”
He said he also expects the legislature to look at Missouri’s tax-credits program, some 68 are available, to see which ones “have value and are worthwhile.”
He said he hopes and thinks the House and Senate will be able to work closer on issues with unemployment insurance and the Second Injury fund.
After the result of the presidential election, Cierpiot said he’d be surprised if the legislature does much regarding health care.
Missouri Republicans had actively challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare.
But following the president’s re-election and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling supporting its constitutionality, practical changes would need to happen on a national level.
He said he and other legislators will watch the effects of Obamacare on demand for Medicaid, which is a state responsibility.
The Assistant Majority Floor Leader works in conjunction with the Majority Floor Leader to set the legislative calendar, determining which legislation makes it to the floor and when it will be debated. The Assistant Majority Floor Leader is considered the fourth highest position in the hierarchy of the Missouri House. Cierpiot will officially assume his duties as Assistant Majority Floor Leader when the 97th General Assembly convenes in January.