Missouri House Republicans chose Rep. Elijah Haahr on Tuesday to succeed Todd Richardson as speaker, assuming the GOP keeps its majority in the lower chamber.
Richardson is barred from serving beyond 2018 because of term limits. Haahr, 35, will take over in January 2019.
The fifth-year Republican from Springfield is attorney at the law firm of Lathrop Gage, and beat out Reps. Robert Cornejo of St. Peters and Holly Rehder of Sikeston. He currently serves as Speaker Pro-tem.
The speaker is one of the most powerful elected officials in Missouri because he or she sets agendas and approves committee assignments for every state representative.
Haahr would not comment on any specific bills he’ll want advanced once he takes over, but said Tuesday he’ll chart a course similar to Richardson, as well as Gov. Eric Greitens. Based on bills he’s previously sponsored, Haahr’s priorities include promoting the interests of home-schooled children, combatting human trafficking and advancing an anti-abortion agenda.