© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Springfield GOP Rep. Elijah Haahr to be House speaker in 2019

Missouri House Republicans chose Rep. Elijah Haahr on Tuesday to succeed Todd Richardson as speaker, assuming the GOP keeps its majority in the lower chamber.

Richardson is barred from serving beyond 2018 because of term limits. Haahr, 35, will take over in January 2019.  

The fifth-year Republican from Springfield is attorney at the law firm of Lathrop Gage, and beat out Reps. Robert Cornejo of St. Peters and Holly Rehder of Sikeston. He currently serves as Speaker Pro-tem.

The speaker is one of the most powerful elected officials in Missouri because he or she sets agendas and approves committee assignments for every state representative.

Haahr would not comment on any specific bills he’ll want advanced once he takes over, but said Tuesday he’ll chart a course similar to Richardson, as well as Gov. Eric Greitens.

“The priorities of Republicans are always going to be generally the same,” Haahr said. “We may have different ways to get there, but we want the same things. We want less government and we want to see labor reform and tax reform.”

Based on bills he’s previously sponsored, Haahr’s priorities include promoting the interests of home-schooled children, combatting human trafficking and advancing an anti-abortion agenda. He has also sponsored bills that would make it harder to amend the Missouri Constitution by requiring a 60 percent majority of voters to pass ballot initiatives.Loading...

Haahr said he also looks forward to working with the Senate, which hasn’t always been easy for House leaders due to filibusters and the slower work pace in the upper chamber.

“(One) thing to remember is this: It’s going to be a very different senate by the time I actually take over this role,” he said. “(There will be) new leadership in the senate and several members will term out, but I’m very excited to work with both the Senate and the governor.”

Richardson will remain House speaker until the 2018 legislative year ends.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2020 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.