The leader of the Missouri Senate is preparing to move back into private life, and his majority Republican party is preparing to carry on without him.
Missouri Senate President Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) will resign at the end of this week to pursue a job in the private sector. He informed Majority Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) of his decision, and the two discussed what policies the caucus will pursue after Dempsey leaves. Richard doesn’t think Dempsey’s departure will drastically change how the chamber operates.
“We’ve decided policies on a consensus and pushed forward on our agenda items by consensus, so not any one person in the Senate is pressed upon everybody else,” Richard told Missourinet.
Still, he says losing Dempsey means the Senate is losing an important strategist and negotiator.
“He is good at bringing both sides together and thinking through the issues and not losing his temper and working with members regardless of what he though about their item or their legislation,” said Richard. “He’ll be missed. Diplomats like that are rare, and we’ll try to just forge ahead.”
Two other lawmakers have resigned in recent months amid scandals involving interns, but Richard says noone should suspect anything like that is behind Dempsey’s resignation.
“No, no, no. Tom’s the most straight, upright, decent human being I’ve ever met. That’s not the case. I think he’s got just some other job opportunities in St. Charles,” said Richard.
The Senate could elect a new leader when it convenes for the veto session in September. Richard spent the weekend contacting fellow senators seeking their support, as he intends to run to succeed Dempsey.
Dempsey’s resignation means both chambers will begin 2016 with different leaders from those they started the 2015 session with. House Speaker John Diehl, Junior, resigned on the final day of the session after admitting to exchanging sexually suggestive texts with a college intern. The House then elected Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) to the Speaker’s position.