State Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, was selected on Wednesday by his colleagues in the House majority caucus to serve as speaker pro tem for the 97th General Assembly.
Smith, representative for the 120th District, which likes partially in Phelps County, currently serves as majority whip for the 96th General Assembly.
When the legislature convenes for next year’s session on Jan. 9, 2013, a full vote of all House members will confirm Smith’s role as speaker pro tem.
“This is a great honor and a responsibility I will take very seriously as I work with the leadership team to make our great state even better,” said Smith. “I’m thrilled by the support my colleagues have trusted in me and so thankful for their willingness to allow me to serve as speaker pro tem.”
The speaker pro tem presides over the floor debate in the absence of the speaker of the House. This is the second-highest ranking position in the Missouri House of Representatives.
In addition, the speaker pro tem is an ex-officio member of all House committees and is an integral member of the leadership team.
Smith is the youngest to serve in this position within the last 100 years or more. In addition, he will be the first person from his region to serve in the position.
“We have the potential to do great things for the state and for the citizens of our region,” said Smith. “The people of this area have given me the incredible honor of representing their interests and that is a duty that will always come first.
“I’m excited by the opportunities I will have to help our area as a ranking member of the House leadership team,” he said. “I am blessed that the people back home as well as members of the General Assembly have entrusted me with such an important role and responsibility. I am both humbled and honored by the show of support.”
Smith will succeed Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, who is leaving after serving two years in the position.
“Schoeller will be a hard act to follow. He is a personal friend and colleague of mine,” Smith said. “His leadership in this role was one of respect, integrity and professionalism. He always led and maintained a proper decorum in the House chambers and was fair and impartial to both sides of the aisle. His diligent leadership was not only effective but commendable.”
Schoeller, a Republican, narrowly lost to Democrat Jason Kander in Tuesday’s general election for secretary of state.
After Tuesday’s election, the Republican party established a 110-53 seat majority in the Missouri House of Representatives.