Columbia state senator gets top leadership post

Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, has been elected Senate Majority Floor Leader. (Caleb Rowden Twitter)

State Senate Republicans on Thursday announced a first-term state senator from Columbia will lead their caucus beginning next year.

Sen. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, will serve as Senate Majority Floor Leader next session. He will succeed now-Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City, who served in that capacity for three years during his time in the Missouri Senate.

Rowden, whose district includes Boone and Cooper Counties, was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving for four years in the Missouri House.

The Senate GOP announcement came on the same day Democrats in both chambers announced their leadership teams. Bellefontaine Neighbors' Gina Walsh will continue to lead Senate Democrats, while Springfield's Crystal Quade was elected House Minority Floor Leader. House Republicans announced their leadership team on Wednesday.

Rowden and Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, were the only two state lawmakers from mid-Missouri to be named to any leadership posts for the coming session. Riddle will serve as Senate Majority Caucus Secretary. Senate Republicans also picked Dave Schatz of Sullivan to serve as president pro tem, contingent upon a vote by the full Senate. Cape Girardeau's Wayne Wallingford has been tapped to serve as assistant majority floor leader.

Preliminary vote totals indicated Republicans will maintain their super majorities in both chambers, with a 116-47 majority in the House and a 24-10 majority in the Senate.

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