Speaker Richard's Opening Address
Opening Day Speech
Ron Richard, Speaker of the House
Welcome Representatives and guests to the opening of the second
session of the 95th General Assembly.
Today we stand at the precipice of the future. Immense uncertainty faces all of us. We are at time in
Missouri history where few have been. Let us work together as never before-
times demand it.
We must never forget we sit in the people’s chamber and our
sacred duty as their elected officials is the maintenance of the integrity and
sanctity of the Missouri House of Representatives. We are here to make our state a
better place for our citizens to work and live.
With every vote we take, we must never forget the trust
has put in us. We, as members,
expect nothing less than the highest integrity in this chamber and the people of
the state deserve nothing less.
Many members have filed legislation that would reform ethical
standards. Today, I will create a Special Standing Committee on Government
Accountability and Ethics Reform.
I am appointing members of outstanding character to this
committee; Representative Kevin Wilson
and Representative Sally Faith have agreed to serve as Chair and Vice-Chair. The committee also includes:
Representatives Bruns, Lipke, Day, Nolte, Brandom, Burnett, Witte, Morris, Walsh
and Curls. Their task is simple; I
will send all ethics reform legislation to their committee so they may create
one, bi-partisan piece of legislation that will restore the public’s trust in
our Chamber by seeking to remove even the appearance of impropriety.
Regardless of party affiliation we can all agree that the
sanctity of this body is important.
From this point forward, we commit ourselves to gain and hold the faith that the
people of Missouri
have in their elected Representatives.
We are also here because we believe in forging a bright future
which is first and foremost in our minds when we walk into this chamber each
Economic woes threaten to dampen our future. The economic downturn has left no
community or household in Missouri
untouched. 9.5% percent of
Missourians are out of work, and the House of Representatives must continue to
lead the way, as we have in the past, towards a complete economic revitalization
There are those who say that the economic recovery will not be
tied to job growth. That is
unacceptable in Missouri.
We must also work to protect the tools that have been successful
at bringing jobs and businesses into our state.
This year we must also continue our work helping small businesses. They are the economic engine of
The economic recovery of this state and nation will not be
carried on the backs of government, but will instead be led by the forces of
personal initiative and the free market.
citizens will bring our state to a new level of economic prosperity through hard
work; it is our duty to set the framework that allows them to thrive.
One important precept of our state government is that we must
spend within our means and we cannot run budget deficits like the federal
government. In a time of economic
uncertainty we must work together to make the necessary decisions for our
citizen’s future that will allow
I will commit to you one thing: we must NOT and we will NOT
raise taxes on working Missourians.
Families across the state are finding ways to stretch their
dollars and we will work to follow them.
With an ever increasing financial burden being placed on Missourians by
the actions of the federal government, we must do what we can to decrease and
cut taxes in Missouri.
Fiscal discipline and prudence will become the bywords for this
session. The people demand nothing
less with their tax dollars, and we will give them nothing less. We will commit
ourselves to being prudent fiscal managers of public monies.
Our House is composed of responsible, hard-working members, and
I know this will be a productive session that all Missourians can be proud of.
To all members, let us remember we are all here representing the
people of our great state, and we all share the same common goal for a strong
and confident Missouri
that is a great place to live, work, and raise a family.
May God bless you and may God bless the great state of