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Griffin to Wait

September 14, 1995
By: ELIZABETH MCKINLEY
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri House Speaker Bob Griffin won't be hanging up his gloves as soon as expected. On Wednesday, Griffin announced that he is pushing back his resignation until January.

House Democrats Wednesday met behind closed doors to discuss a time frame for Griffin's departure - delaying the house veto session for almost half an hour.

Democrats were so concerned with maintaining secrecy of the session that they taped paper over the windows where they were meeting. It was the first time in recent history that the House windows were covered for a Democratic caucus.

Griffin said he would step down only if he is replaced by another Democrat. In January, Democratic defections nearly handed control of the House leadership jobs to the Republicans.

Although Griffin said he is definitely stepping down, he said he wants to wait until January so he can vote for the new House speaker.

Seven members of the Missouri House have announced their candidacy. the latest to enter the race is Rep. Jason Klumb, D-Bulter, a third year law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Despite being one of the youngest member of the House, Klumb, 27, said he thinks he can make a difference. "We can seize the day and be bold," he said. "We need new people and fresh faces at the front of the House."

Klumb, who still wears braces on his teeth, said his age would help him provide a new perspective to the House leadership. If elected, Klumb said he plans to make changes in the House committees and their chairmanships.

The other contenders for House Speaker are:

* Rep. Gracia Backer, D-New Bloomfield

* Rep. Tim Green, D-St. Louis County

* Rep. Sam Leake, D-Ladonnia

* Shelia Lumpe, D-St. Louis County

* Rep. Bill Skaggs, D-Kansas City

* Rep. Phil Smith, D-Louisiana

Majority Floor Leader Bob Ward, D-Bonne Terre, said he hasn't reached a decision about whether he'll run for speaker.

The House Democrats have scheduled a caucus for Nov. 9, when they will select the House Speaker nominee.

Griffin said he anticipates the Democrats will have the needed votes to defeat a Republican nomination.