On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the opening day of the 2013 legislative session, newly-elected Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith (R-Salem) said that his fellow lawmakers should provide the kind of leadership in the state to serve as a role model for the federal government.

After being elected to the speaker pro tem position by a majority of the members of House, Smith delivered an address that focused on his chamber’s commitment to core conservative ideologies such as limited government and fiscal responsibility.

Smith, who represents District 120, was critical of a federal government that he called “out of touch with reality.”

Smith lauded the efforts of Missourians to push back against what he referred to as the ill-conceived federal health care plan and the actions of state government to embrace fiscal responsibility.

In his speech, Smith referred to states as the true “laboratories of democracy” where people should turn for effective solutions to the problems the federal government is unable or unwilling to address.

Also during his address, Smith outlined his policy agenda for the 2013 legislative session.

He called for the House of Representatives to stand in defense of Missouri’s traditions of farming, hunting and fishing and asked his colleagues to approve legislation that will forever protect the rights of all Missourians to hunt, fish and farm. In December, Smith prefiled a constitutional amendment regarding this issue.

“Together we can stand in defense of our many farmers, hunters and fishermen with language that will protect and preserve the time-honored traditions that Missouri families have carried on for generations,” said Smith during his address Wednesday.

Smith also called on his fellow House members to support legislation that would reject efforts by the White House to gut the welfare-to-work program that he said has helped so many Missourians get back on their feet and back to work.

“This year in Missouri we will send the message loudly and clearly that we will reject their plans for a system that would encourage dependency on government handouts and instead support a program that puts our neediest citizens on a path to gainful employment and self-sufficiency,” said Smith.

Smith ended his speech by reminding his colleagues to stay true to the will of the people they were elected to represent.

“Here in the people’s House, we serve the will of those who elected us to office, and with every action we take, and every vote we make, we do so for the good of the families we serve,” said Smith.

The 2013 legislative session runs until May 17.