Missouri Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelbina.
 Missouri Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, R-Shelbina (photo courtesy of Senate Communications).

Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin is the first woman from either party to serve as majority floor leader in the Missouri Senate following her selection during the G.O.P. caucus meetings held after the November 2022 general election. This vote will put her in the second most powerful job in that chamber.

Sen. O’Laughlin, of Shelbina in northeast Missouri, defeated Sen. Mike Bernskoetter of Jefferson City in a vote held in a closed-door caucus. Current Majority Leader Caleb Rowden of Columbia was selected as the GOP nominee for Senate president pro tem without opposition.

According to an article written by Rudy Keller Both O’Laughlin and Rowden said their goal is internal peace within the faction-ridden caucus so members can focus on passing legislation rather than fighting each other.

“Certainly I hope it is better than the last session,” O’Laughlin said to reporters after the caucus meeting. “We all learned from the last session that once things kind of start going the wrong way they can really go the wrong way fast.”

One source of friction, the conservative caucus, disbanded this summer after four years of escalating war with the Republican leadership. O’Laughlin, who joined the group after taking office in 2019, quit the caucus in 2021.

“I felt like after I had been here more than a year, a year and a half, I felt like I understood the issues and the way things worked here, and I wanted to speak for myself,” O’Laughlin said. “It just seemed like the thing to do.”

Republicans will continue with a 24-10 majority in the Senate when new members are sworn in as the session starts in January.

You can listen to a “Show Me Today” Missourinet interview conducted by Alisa Nelson with Sen. O’Laughlin to learn more. O’Laughlin talks to Missourinet’s Alisa Nelson about her new role, her previous role, and some hot button topics, including sports betting.

Senator O’Laughlin represents District 18 – Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Scotland, and Shelby
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Senator Cindy O’Laughlin was sworn into office on Jan. 9, 2019, to serve the residents of Northeast Missouri’s 18th Senatorial District.

In addition to her public service, Sen. O’Laughlin has served as vice president of Leo O’Laughlin, Inc., for the past 26 years. The senator and her husband own and operate a trucking company and ready mix concrete business with locations in Shelbina, Macon, Marceline and LaBelle.

Prior to being elected to the Missouri Senate, Sen. O’Laughlin served as a school bus driver, an administrator at a local Christian school and as a member of her local school board. Now, Sen. O’Laughlin serves as the chair of the Senate Education Committee and works to improve education outcomes for all of Missouri’s children, regardless of where they live.

Senator O’Laughlin has been a member of various civic organizations, such as the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Shelby County Economic Development Board. She has also served on numerous statewide boards, such as the Associated Builders and Contractors and the Missouri Club for Growth. Senator O’Laughlin is currently a member of the National Rifle Association, Missouri Cattlemen, the Missouri Farm Bureau and Macon First Baptist Church.

Senator O’Laughlin grew up on a farm and spent much of her childhood around horses, livestock auctions and corn fields. Today, she’s the proud owner of several dogs, including Basset Hounds, as well as several rescues dogs.

A current resident of Shelbina, Sen. O’Laughlin has four sons, a foster daughter and six grandchildren. She is a 1978 graduate of the University of Missouri.

Record Number of Women Ascend to Governors Offices

At least 12 women are poised to win governorships in America following the November election, a record number. The two-woman race in Arizona is too close to call as of this writing.

Up until Tuesday, only nine women had served as governor at the same time. Just 45 women have served as governor in American history. You can continue reading to learn more.

Other women who have made history in this midterm election

  • Republican Katie Britt, 40, is the first elected female senator from Alabama
  • Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, 40, is the first woman elected governor of Arkansas
  • Democrat Maura Healey, 51, is the first out lesbian governor in U.S. history after winning Massachusetts’ gubernatorial race
  • Becca Balint, 54, is the first woman elected to Congress from Vermont as well as the first out LGBTQ person elected to Congress from the state after winning Vermont’s sole House seat.
  • Democrat Delia Ramiriz, 39, is the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois, representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District
  • Democrat Kathy Huchul, 64, is the first elected female governor of New York
  • Democrat Marcy Kaptur, 76, will become the longest-serving women in Congress after winning her 21st term to represent Ohio in the House.
  • Democrat Summer Lee, 34, is the first Black woman to be elected to Congress from Pennsylvania, representing the state’s 12 congressional district in the House.
  • Republican Leslie Rutledge, 46, is the first woman to be elected lieutenant governor of Arkansas
  • Democrat Shirley Weber, 74, is California’s first elected Black secretary of state
  • Charity Clark, 47, is the first woman to be elected attorney general of Vermont 
  • Democrat Stephanie Thomas is the first Black woman to be elected secretary of state in Connecticut 
  • Democrat Aruna Miller, 58, is the first Asian American to be elected lieutenant governor of Maryland
  • Democrat Andrea Campbell, 40 is the first Black woman to be elected attorney general of Massachusetts