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Republicans pick Diehl as next Missouri House speaker if GOP retains control

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 11, 2013 - State Rep. John Diehl has been chosen by fellow Republicans to be the next speaker of the Missouri House — making him the second St. Louisan in a row to hold that post.

Diehl, R-Town and Country, was elected late Wednesday during a private caucus of the House’s 109 Republicans. He defeated state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-Columbia — cousin of the current speaker, Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka.

Assuming that he wins re-election and that Republicans retain control of the Missouri House, Diehl would take office in January 2015.

Diehl, a lawyer, is close to many business interests. Within minutes of his selection, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce issued a statement on Twitter, saying Diehl “has worked hard for employers from day one. He is a Mo Chamber legislative award winner and a true friend of business.”

Diehl, 48, also has promoted himself as a friend of fellow House Republicans. He had promised, if elected, to help raise money for the House GOP caucus in order to help his colleagues in the 2014 election.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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