Whether you hosted the family Christmas, or traveled across the country to be with loved ones, I hope you had time this holiday season to enjoy the company of those closest to you.
While we never want to overlook the true meaning and significance of the Christmas holiday, it's also the time of the year when we reconnect with our loved ones; enjoy watching the excitement in our children's eyes as they open presents; and simply relax for a few moments as we put our worries aside and appreciate the many blessings we have been given.
Yes, the new gadgets and toys can be nice, but Christmas is really a time to thank God for all that he has given us.
I hope your Christmas was filled with joy and warmth for you and your family.
Shortly after the election, the members of the Republican Caucus met in Jefferson City to select their leadership team for the upcoming session. The caucus reaffirmed their decision to name John Diehl the next Speaker of the House. An official election of the next Speaker will take place January 7, at the inauguration.
Diehl has selected Todd Richardson from Poplar Bluff to serve as Majority Floor Leader and Denny Hoskins from Warrensburg to continue his service as Speaker Pro Tem. Together they will lead the House and the Republican super majority as they continue to champion pro-growth, pro-jobs initiatives.
While Republicans do not have their agenda for the upcoming session set in stone at this time, we do know that a few key areas will receive their attention:
* Economic development and tax policy reforms that focus on small business owners and employers;
* Education initiatives that keep decisions on the local level while also improving job readiness;
* Developing new ways to bolster our vital agriculture industry; and
* Continuing efforts to move our state toward energy independence.
These are just a few of the goals mentioned by the new members of House leadership. You can be certain that the list will grow and change in the coming weeks as the Republican caucus continues to discuss its priorities, and as they continue to take input from the people who have entrusted them to serve as their voice in the halls of government. I would imagine the upcoming session also will find them continuing to protect Missourians from the federal government's attempts to expand our broken system of Medicaid, while also focusing on key issues such as labor reform and voter identification.