Missouri lawmaker resigns state seat to accept labor commission post

When we hear about lawmakers stepping down, we usually hear about some sort of crime or scandal — but sometimes resignations can lead to good things.

Such appears to be the case in Missouri, where a state representative just resigned his seat in the state House in order to accept an appointment by the governor to an important labor and industrial board.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Republican Rep. Robert Cornejo stepped down from his role representing parts of Lincoln and St. Charles counties, an office he has held since 2012 and for which he was running for reelection unopposed.

Appointed as chairman of board

It was announced on Wednesday that Republican Gov. Mike Parson had appointed Cornejo to serve in his administration as chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, a three-member board that provides oversight to the state’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Cornejo’s appointment will require confirmation from the state Senate.

“Robert brings the experience necessary to his new role as Chairman of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission,” Parson said in a prepared statement. “His effectiveness in handling multiple projects ranging from constituent concerns to passing legislation at such a high level of quality gives him the qualifications needed to oversee this commission.”

Along with the boost in prestige and responsibility, Cornejo will also receive a significant bump in pay, as General Assembly members are paid $35,000 annually, while board commissioners receive $107,000 in yearly pay.

A critical appointment

Cornejo — who once interned for former Missouri Sen. Jim Talent — had previously served in the state House as the chair of the General Laws Committee but had unsuccessfully made a bid for Speaker in 2017.

A committee of local Republicans in his district will appoint a replacement for him on November’s ballot.

The appointment of a Republican to chair the labor relations commission comes at a critical time when labor unions are making a strong push in the state, having just succeeded in convincing voters to overturn the state’s “right-to-work” law in the recent primary election, according to NPR.

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The right-to-work law prohibited labor unions from forcing non-union workers to pay union dues even if those employees wanted no part of the union. These kinds of laws are despised by the organized labor movement, as they cut into the amount of money they can squeeze out of union and non-union workers alike to fund their progressive agendas.

The favorable vote for labor unions in Missouri will embolden the organized labor movement across the country ahead of the midterm elections, but hopefully, the appointment of a Republican to oversee that labor relations commission will keep that movement in check — at least in Missouri.

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