Ron Richard, the new Republican speaker of the Missouri House, initially promised to be what the Springfield News-Leader called the “anti-Jetton.”  However, only a few weeks after the dawning of the new age, it seems that the bad old days may not really be behind us.

One of Richard’s first actions has been to strip Jeanette Mott Oxford of her position on the Children and Families Committee.  As Mott Oxford explains it:

I asked to be on Children and Families since I have more than 20 years experience addressing childhood poverty and public health issues. I have served on this committee (which has had different names) during my first four years in office.

The Democratic leadership put my name forward to be on the committee and planned to name me as ranking Democrat. However, Speaker Richard’s office took my name off the list for the committee and named Rep. Belinda Harris to it instead.

After Harris declined the appointment, Richard gave it to Rep. Michael Corcoran, a St. Louis County Democrat.  According to the Kansas City Star, Corcoran, who supports the appointment of Mott Oxford to the Committee, only accepted when it became clear that she would not be appointed to the committee.

Mott Oxford says that the only reason she was given for the loss of her position on the committee was that she was “offensive” to some Republican members.  Richard, members of his staff, and Cynthia Davis, the right wing fundie chair of the committee, all deny this assertion. However, consider the following:

Concerns over whether Oxford’s sexual orientation derailed her appointment arose Jan. 15 when Richard’s chief of staff delivered the committee assignments to staffers for House Minority Leader Paul LeVota.

According to Democratic staffers who were present, the chief of staff – Jeff Brooks – said Oxford was removed because members of the Republican caucus found her “highly offensive.” Brooks reportedly did not elaborate on what that meant.

Highly suspicious, I’d say.  Personally, I plan to phone Richard at 573-751-2173 and ask him just what’s up with this committee appointment–and if his answer doesn’t satisfy me, I plan to tell him just what offensive really means.  I suggest that you do likewise.