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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Missouri House Minority Leader Quade On ‘Frustrating’ Legislative Session

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield
Tim Bommel I House Communications
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade is the latest guest on Politically Speaking. The Springfield Democrat joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jaclyn Driscoll to provide her impressions of how the Missouri General Assembly is faring after it was idle for weeks due to the coronavirus.

Quade represents a House district that takes in part of Springfield. As the leader of the House Democrats, Quade is largely responsible for crafting her party’s message and strategy in the Missouri House.

On the show, Quade talked about:

  • Her frustration with the way lawmakers are piling lots of different ideas into so-called “omnibus bills.” A diverse coalition of Missouri-based political groups has decried that strategy, contending among other things that it's a nontransparent way of legislating.
  • Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to lift the stay-at-home order for most of the state. Quade also explained why she didn’t think it was a good idea to have different pandemic-related restrictions for different parts of the state.
  • The trajectory of the budget process, which House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, cited as the main reason the Legislature needed to resume. She said it’s likely that lawmakers will have to return in June to make changes to whatever budget they end up passing by the end of this week.
  • Her criticisms of two ballot initiatives moving through the legislative process this week. One would, among other things, put a work requirement in place for obtaining Medicaid, and the other would replace a state legislative redistricting system known as Clean Missouri. If both of those proposals pass out of the General Assembly, they’ll need voter approval to take effect.

After the 2018 election, Quade became the only Democrat to represent a district south of Interstate 70. Before becoming minority leader, Quade was a member of the powerful House Budget Committee. Among other things, Quade took a prominent role in 2017 advocating to reverse budget cuts to in-home care services for the poor and elderly. A last-minute effort to restore the services passed the Legislature, but then-Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed the measure.
While the minority leader is substantially less powerful than the House speaker, Quade appoints her fellow Democrats to serve on standing committees — and make recommendations for who serves on special committees.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jaclyn Driscoll on Twitter: @DriscollNPR

Follow Crystal Quade on Twitter: @crystal_quade

Music: “Image of the Invisible” by Thrice

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