House gets new minority leader

Sunday, July 22, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:21 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Paul LeVota, D-Jackson County, has been unanimously elected as House Minority Leader of the Missouri House of Representatives. He replaces Jeff Harris of Columbia.

Harris resigned as minority leader after serving for nearly three years to pursue a campaign for Attorney General. He will continue to serve in the House until his term expires in January 2009.

“Serving as House Minority Leader has been a great privilege,” Harris said in a news release from the House Minority Caucus. “The new leadership team will continue to build on the strong foundations we established to move Missouri forward.”

LeVota will take over the position in September after the General Assembly’s annual veto session, or “upon the conclusion of any special legislative session that might be called this fall,” according to the release. His leadership responsibilities, however, will start immediately.

“I am honored at being selected to lead House Democrats during what will be an important legislative session next year,” LeVota said in the release. “I look forward to helping craft an innovative legislative agenda and leading Democratic efforts to reclaim the House majority in 2008.”

LeVota, 39, has served as assistant minority leader since November 2004. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.

House Democrats elected Rep. J.C. Kuessner, D-Eminence, to take the position of assistant minority leader.

Kuessner, 64, is currently chairman of the House Rural Democratic Caucus. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2002.

“House Democrats have momentum going our way, and we will keep building on our progress,” Kuessner said. “With the unified efforts of the caucus, we can enjoy even greater success in the coming years.”

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