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Republican margin in senate narrows
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Maida Coleman of St. Louis was sworn in Wednesday as the newest member of the Missouri Senate.
The former Democratic House member was administered the oath of office by Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ronnie White shortly after noon in her new Senate office. Her former House colleagues and Gov. Bob Holden attended a ceremonial swearing-in held later in the Senate chamber.
Coleman replaces Democrat Paula Carter, who died of cancer last year.
Coleman, who will serve the remaining three years of Carter's term, defeated Republican Roger Plackemeier in a special election on Feb. 5.
"I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do in my life," Coleman said. "This is the spot I've always expected to be in."
With Coleman's swearing-in, Republicans hold an 18-16 majority in the 34-member Senate.
Coleman, 47, said she wants to focus on preventing the tightening state budget from affecting social services and to work to protect jobs in St. Louis.
To that end, she supports efforts of the St. Louis Cardinals to build a new stadium with state support. Coleman said Wednesday she would file a bill on the issue identical to one filed in the House.