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House Speaker To Deliver GOP Response To Governor's State Of State Address

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, has been tapped to deliver the Republican response to next Tuesday’s State of the State address by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Jones had been on the short list for the response, usually delivered within minutes of the governor's annual speech. Others believed to be in the running had been Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who has delivered the response several times since Nixon took office, and state Auditor Tom Schweich, who’s running for re-election this fall.

A spokesman for Schweich said the auditor -- encouraged by some to make a run for governor in 2016 -- had not been interested in delivering the Republican response.

Jones, who has been promoting a 2014 agenda, said in a recent interview that he was interested in the Republican assignment.  Heis likely to touch on several legislative topicson which he and other Republican legislative leaders differ with Nixon.  They include:

Because of term limits, Jones will leave the Missouri House after this session. He is expected to run for statewide office in 2016. This week, he reported more than $900,000 in his bank account.

That’s the largest sum reported by a statewide official – with the notable exception of Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat who’s running for governor in 2016 (and has $1.5 million in the bank).  Jones, a lawyer, is among several Republicans expected to vie to succeed Koster as attorney general.

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.