After having gaveled in for the first time to start the 2017 session, the Missouri state Senate honored one of its long serving former members.

Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richards and outgoing Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder in the Senate chamber January 4th, 2017

Republican Mike Kehoe of Cole paid tribute to Peter Kinder, who served 12 years in the chamber, before being elected Lieutenant Governor in 2004.

Kehoe said Kinder set a high standard for his colleagues. “He has done a fantastic job of representing Missouri’s citizens, our constitution, and quite frequently reminding me as well as others to remember to look at what’s right and wrong, and try to help Missouri move forward.”

Kehoe claimed Kinder was a positive influence during his three terms as a Senator and 12 years as the state’s Lieutenant Governor. “For almost 25 years, there’s been a steady presence in this building that has had Missourians’ back for 25 years” said Kehoe.

He went on to note Kinder made history in claiming the Senate’s most powerful position during his third term. “After a special election in 2001, he was first Republican Pro Tem in the Missouri Senate to serve in 53 years.”

Kinder was elected to three four-year terms as Lieutenant Governor. Instead of seeking a fourth term, he opted to run for governor last year, where he was soundly defeated in a contentious four-way Republican Primary.

Although thought by some pundits to be the most qualified and best positioned in the election, he came in a distant third, garnering barely more than 20 percent of the vote in the primary.

His tenure as Lieutenant Governor was marked by some controversy when an audit showed discrepancies in time sheets submitted by employees in his department. He also was reported to have used taxpayer money for personal trips, and was hounded by a revelation he frequented a topless bar and was rejected by a former stripper  while serving as a Senator.

In 2010, Kinder filed an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging the federal health care law, asserting it violated the U.S and Missouri constitutions.

Among other business conducted during the state Senate’s first day in session was the swearing of newly elected members. 11 Republicans and 6 Democrats were sworn in.

The GOP dominates the chamber, holding 25 of the 34 seats.  Kansas City Democrat John Rizzo now occupies a post which was preciously vacant.