GOP Gives Speaker’s Post to Richardson


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Todd Richardson, the Poplar Bluff Republican who serves as the House Majority Floor Leader, was selected by Republicans to be the next Speaker of the House.

Richardson’s selection, which came without a challenge Thursday evening, came after House Speaker John Diehl stepped down following the revelation that he had exchanged innuendo-laced text message with Katie Graham, a 19-year-old freshman who had interned for Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

“I don’t think the last five months have cast the legislature in a particularly good light,” he said. “It is my hope we can get out of that.” 

Richardson, who will take the post (pending a vote by the entire House after Diehl steps down) on Friday, said it has been a “tumultuous end of session,” citing the Diehl scandal and the dysfunction in the Senate that emerged after Republicans forced a vote on a policy known as right-to-work. 

When lawmakers return on Friday for their final day of session, Richardson, “We have a small number of bills that are still in the House’s possession,” and if the House amendments are removed, could be sent to the governor’s desk without a vote in the Senate. 

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