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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Majority Leader Cierpiot on organizing the House's agenda

Rep. Mike Cierpiot
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Rep. Mike Cierpiot

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is on location in Jefferson City to welcome House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot onto the program.

Cierpiot is the third majority floor leader to be a guest on Politically Speaking. The Lee’s Summit Republican is responsible for bringing bills up for debate, making him one of the more important lawmakers in the Missouri General Assembly.

Cierpiot came to Jefferson City after the 2010 election cycle. But before that, he had inside knowledge of the process when his wife –former Rep. Connie Cierpiot – served in the Missouri House when Republicans were in the minority. Interestingly, Connie Cierpiot’s first day in office included a memorable attempt to oust then-House Speaker Bob Griffin and replace him with then-Minority Leader Mark Richardson. (Mark Richardson, of course, is the father of Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Popular Bluff.)

That experience provided insight for Mike Cierpiot on how to handle the legislative process. For instance, he says he’s more inclined to let Democrats help out with the amendment process or even handle bills on the floor – which wasn’t a very common occurrence when legislative margins were tighter.

When Richardson vacated the majority floor leader position to become speaker, Cierpiot beat out Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, for the job. While the past four majority floor leaders rose to the speakership, Cierpiot won’t ascend to that job if Richardson serves in his role until after 2018. Both Richardson and Cierpiot will have to leave the House after 2018 due to term limits.

Here’s what Cierpiot had to say during the show:

  • He has no interest in further climbing the House leadership ladder, adding that he “prefers the back of the chamber to the front of the chamber.” He added it provides a wide-open opportunity for Republicans elected in 2012 to succeed Richardson.
  • He expects the legislature will send aspects of an ethics overhaul to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk, even though some proposals are having trouble in the Missouri Senate. “I think we’ll pass a couple of them,” Cierpiot said. “I think we’ll pass a gift ban and the revolving door. The speaker said he’s expecting the Senate to move on these bills. And at some point he will attach ethics to other Senate bills to get it done.”
  • But Cierpiot doesn’t expect the legislature to cap political donations. Some Republicans like Sen. David Pearce are trying to advance contribution caps this year. “Personally, I think the way you get money out of politics is to get us out of everybody’s business,” Cierpiot said. “Because a lot of businesses that would love not to spend any money in Jeff City on campaigns. They feel like the government is so broad and involved with so many things that they have to keep an eye on things.”
  • Cierpiot will play a big role in overseeing Missouri House elections this year, since the majority floor leader often works with the House Republican Campaign Committee. Since he’s not trying to become speaker, Cierpiot said he will be raising lots of money and then giving it to candidates in tough districts.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Mike Cierpiot on Twitter: @MikeCierpiot

Music: “Motorcycle Driveby” by Third Eye Blind

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