As John Diehl begins his new job as Missouri’s House speaker, the state’s Republicans enjoy an historic majority in the House. Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, has risen through leadership positions in Jefferson City over the last five years, earning a reputation as a shrewd dealmaker adept at the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that’s key to the legislative process.
As he takes over a position that’s been called the second most powerful in state government, he will influence everything from the state budget to education reform to tax policy. With a veto-proof majority that can easily override gubernatorial vetoes, he’s also likely to play counterpoint to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.