Taking the floor on opening day of the 2013 General Session, newly-elected Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem Jason Smith urged his colleagues to provide leadership that has been "sorely lacking" on the federal level.
After his elected as Speaker Pro Tem by a majority of fellow House members, Smith's address focused on his chamber's "commitment to core conservative ideologies such as limited government and fiscal responsibility."
Smith, R-Salem, says the federal government "out of touch with reality and threatening to re-define the basic relationship our founders envisioned between a people and its government."
"With every action taken by these out of touch Washington D.C. bureaucrats, we are sent one very clear message," Smith said from the House floor. "They have forgotten it is we, the states and the people, who created the federal government…not the other way around."
Smith lauded the efforts of Missourians to push back against the ill-conceived federal health care plan and the actions of state government to embrace fiscal responsibility and defend the freedoms of all Missourians. In his speech, he referred to states as the true "laboratories of democracy" where people should turn for effective solutions to the problems the federal government is unable or unwilling to address.
"When it comes to a shining example of a government that embraces fiscally responsible spending; a commitment to reducing the size of bureaucracy and increasing the attention paid to the needs of the people; and a vision for the future that holds promise and hope rather than mountains of debt," Smith told his colleagues. "It is the states we must look to for inspiration."
Smith outlined his agenda for the 2013 legislative session. He called for the House to stand in defense of the proud Missouri traditions of farming, hunting and fishing. Smith described the assault that has been launched against these Missouri institutions by out-of-state radicals and asked his colleagues to approve legislation that will forever protect the rights of all Missourians to hunt, fish and farm.
"Together we can stand in defense of our many farmers, hunters and fishermen with language that will protect and preserve the time-honored traditions that Missouri families have carried on for generations," said Smith. "And that will forever enshrine this vital way of life that must continue if future generations are to have the kind of Missouri, and the kind of America, that our forefathers envisioned."
Smith also called on fellow House members to support legislation that would reject efforts by the White House to gut the welfare-to-work program that has helped so many Missourians get back on their feet and back to work.
"This year in Missouri we will send the message loudly and clearly that we will reject their plans for a system that would encourage dependency on government handouts and instead support a program that puts our neediest citizens on a path to gainful employment and self-sufficiency," said Smith.
Page 2 of 2 - Smith ended his speech by reminding his colleagues to stay true to the will of the people they were elected to represent.
"Here in the people's House, we serve the will of those who elected us to office, and with every action we take, and every vote we make, we do so for the good of the families we serve," said Smith.
Smith will serve as Speaker Pro Tem for the Missouri House of Representatives for the 97th General Assembly that will conclude at the end of 2014. The 2013 legislative session began Wednesday and runs until Friday, May 17.