The next leader of Missouri’s Senate is Ron Richard (R-Joplin). He was elected by the Senate Republican caucus today and will be elected by the state Senate tomorrow after it convenes at noon for the veto session.
He will fill the vacancy left by Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles), who resigned over the summer to enter the private sector.
“I’m serious about this. I’m not here to make friends. I love the institution,” said Richard. “I think we’re here for a reason and I like getting things done, but there are some days you can’t get anything done, and maybe some days when you don’t get anything done that’s a success too.”
Richard said is top legislative priority remains job creation and economic development.
“I’ll treat all members’ bills, priorities the same but I like job creation and always have.”
Richard has been Majority Floor Leader. To fill that role, Senate Republicans elected Senator Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City).
“To kind of draw on what Tom (Dempsey) did as Floor Leader when I was here and Ron (Richard) is just make sure our caucus priorities get time and our members’ priorities get time on the floor and try to navigate that,” said Kehoe. He said he likes to try to find middle ground on issues, “whether there’s a disagreement amongst our own caucus or between us and the minority, if it’s a priority that we believe helps the state and the caucus believes helps the state I’m going to try to figure out a way to negotiate that through.”
Replacing Kehoe as Assistant Majority Floor Leader will be Senator Bob Onder (R-Lake Saint Louis).
Richard will become the first person in Missouri History to have been both the state’s House Speaker and its Senate President Pro Tem. He was elected to the state House in 2002 and became speaker in 2008. Two years later he was elected to the state Senate, becoming the first House Speaker to serve in the state senate in 100 years. Before coming to the legislature, Richard was the mayor of Joplin from 1994 to 97 and on the City’s Council from 1990 to 94.