Funeral services are scheduled for Saturday morning in northwest Missouri’s Gallatin for a former prominent state lawmaker who passed away Sunday at his home.

Former State Rep. Phil Tate, D-Gallatin (file photo courtesy of the Trenton Republican-Times)

Former State Rep. Phil Tate, D-Gallatin, was elected to six terms in the Missouri House, serving from 1987-1997. Tate, 73, was best known for championing economic development in northern Missouri and for his efforts to bring flooding relief to the region after the Great Flood of 1993. The flood destroyed towns in his district, including Pattonsburg.

Gallatin, a town of about 1,700, is northwest of Chillicothe.

Tate resigned from the Legislature in 1997, when he became the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Director of Business Expansion and Attraction.

Former State Rep. and former State DED Director Joe Driskill, D-Doniphan, says Tate engineered the establishment of regional teams of state economic developers, the first in the state’s history. He notes that in 2019, DED reconstituted the model.

“Phil was a good and caring man, a dedicated public servant, and my friend. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to Nancy and family,” Driskill tweeted at Missourinet.

Tate graduated from Gallatin High School in 1964 and from the University of Missouri with a degree in Business Administration, according to Stith Family Funeral Home in Gallatin. He built and operated Tate Marine at Lake Viking and later became the owner-operator of Tate Oil Company.

Tate helped bring Premium Standard Farms (PSF) to northwest Missouri, which brought both praise and criticism in his district. Critics pointed to hog waste spills and odor issues. Despite the criticism, Tate won every election for his legislative seat.

After Tate retired from DED, he served as the economic development director in northeast Missouri’s Kirksville, as Interim Director of the North Central Missouri Development Alliance in Trenton and as Gallatin’s interim city manager.

“He was a hardworking dedicated official,” former State Rep. Katie Steele Danner, D-Kirksville, says. “We enjoyed working on northeast Missouri economic development projects after the Legislature.”

Steele Danner, former State Rep. Beth Wheeler and Tate shared Sullivan County in the Legislature.

One of the last projects Tate worked on was his successful effort to save the former Conagra plant in Trenton from closing. Nestle took over the facility in June 2018, keeping the assembly line flowing without disruptions.

“I’ve worked a lot of projects for the (state) Department of Economic Development where we went into Kansas City and announced maybe 500 new jobs or 700 new jobs,” Tate told Missourinet’s Alisa Nelson during a 2018 story about Nestle in Trenton. “I’ll tell you what, when you come into a small community like Gallatin or even one larger than Trenton and announce 150 jobs, you will get a whole lot more enthusiasm and energy than you will in Kansas City or St. Louis for the bigger numbers jobs because it make a big difference in a small community. Nestle is such an outstanding corporation and with a real community conscience. That’s the reason we were able to negotiate this kind of a favorable agreement for the community.”

Tate also served as a member of Gallatin’s volunteer fire department, and served on both the Gallatin City Council and School Board.

Stith Family Funeral Home says funeral services for former State Rep. Phil Tate will be Saturday morning at 11 at the Gallatin United Methodist Church. Visitation is Friday evening from 5-7 at the church. Tate will be buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Gallatin.

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