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Top Leaders In House Democratic, Legislative Black Caucuses Remain Unchanged

Missouri House Chamber
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI
The chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives at the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City.

As senate Republicans did Thursday, so have House Democrats and African-American lawmakers – sticking with the same top leaders.

First, the Legislative Black Caucus has formally elected state Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, as caucus chair. He succeeds Rep. Tommie Pierson, D-North County, who was elected as chair in January after state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, resigned from the chairmanship.

Nasheed's resignation was sparked by a contentious meeting with Gov. Jay Nixon, who was unhappy over her participation in a press conference in December 2013 with Missouri’s Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.  Kinder and Nasheed at the time objected to Nixon’s delay in making available $14 million in low-income housing tax credits as part of the state’s attempt to persuade Boeing to move production of its 777-X airliner to St. Louis.

As indicated in a press release Friday, Missouri’s Legislative Black Caucus will attempt to address the consequences of the Aug. 9 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

“The events in Ferguson have helped people of all races and political philosophies to understand the urgent need for social justice-minded reform in Missouri,” Ellington said. “The Missouri Black Legislative Caucus will take a leading role in the General Assembly’s efforts to reshape various aspects of state law to reflect the lessons learned in recent months.”

The legislative black caucus also elected state Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, as caucus vice chair, re-elected state Rep. Kimberly Gardner, D-St. Louis, as caucus secretary, and elected state Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills, as caucus treasurer.

House Democrats stick with Hummel

Credit Mo. House Communications
State Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis

Meanwhile, House Democrats on Thursday have stuck with their top two leaders.  They re-elected Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, as minority floor leader.  Hummel first became floor leader for the Democrats in November 2012, succeeding Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, who did not seek re-election to the House and instead became governmental affairs director for the construction firm Burns & McDonnell.

Also chosen by House Democrats:

  • Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, re-elected assistant minority floor leader
  • John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, re-elected minority whip
  • Gina Mitten, D-St. Louis, elected caucus chair
  • Jon Carpenter, D-Kansas City, elected caucus vice chair
  • Karla May, D-St. Louis, elected caucus secretary
  • Kimberly Gardiner, D-St. Louis, re-elected caucus policy chair

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.