Lawmakers See Promise and Possibility to Todd Richardson’s Rise to Power

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From the moment Todd Richardson was sworn into the Missouri General Assembly, there was an aura of promise around the Poplar Bluff Republican.

With his oratorical skills and a knack for handling big-ticket legislation, high expectations were placed on Richardson to succeed. Some political watchers foresaw a future in Missouri House leadership – and even climbing the ranks of federal politics.

But with the shock resignation of John Diehl, Richardson’s time to lead has come much sooner than anybody expected. He’ll take over the speakership of Missouri House as the chamber is under scrutiny for its treatment of women and has careened into legislative gridlock. No longer is Richardson a politician for the future: His time is now; the stakes to succeed are high.

And he knows it.

“I think you always look for the opportunities to learn lessons in this building. Sometimes good and sometimes bad,” Richardson said. “We will certainly do everything we can to learn from the events that have happened this year and push ourselves not to make those same mistakes again.”

While every Missouri House speaker goes through ups and downs, Republicans hope Richardson can move a troubled party to bigger and better things.

“I think he’s kind of one of those ‘once-in-a-generation’ type of political figures,” said Scott Dieckhaus, a former state representative and the executive director of the House Republican Campaign Committee. “I think the Democrats on their side probably have Chris Koster. That would be a good comparison – somebody who is just kind of the complete package. They look the part, they speak well, they present well, they have a broad understanding of policy. And they have a political intuition that probably helps them out a lot on the official side.”

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Source: STL Public Radio