34 of the Best Senators in the Past 25 Years – Part 4


For several weeks, The Missouri Times has asked readers and friends who they thought should be featured in the best senate of the past 25 years – a fantasy team, if you will. Over 60 senators were submitted. After visiting with longtime observers of the chamber we came up with our list of 34 of it’s finest lawmakers in the last 25 years. It’s an eclectic list featuring men and women from the pre- and post term limit eras, and a combination of 34 Senators that no Speaker or Governor would envy having to battle.

Current senators were not eligible for the list. And because we couldn’t begin to put these folks in any numerical order, we will be releasing the list alphabetically over the next five days. The official senate portraits are included.



Phil Curls

He was a senator who passed several major pieces of legislation. He was the leader in writing the public housing statues for the state, and those programs continue to be in affect today. In a state where no matter what party is in charge rural issues often trump urban issues, he was major force in advancing those issues.





Wayne Goode

He was a former budget chair who ran the show and got just what he wanted.  When the Republicans won control, he was still very influential.






Chris Koster

How many senators can switch parties from the majority to the minority and still stay relevant?  He was a great speaker on the floor and knew just when to get up and talk.  He used his power and immense speaking ability to make friends and build alliances all only in four very eventful years – some would call it extraordinary. Clearly it paid off.



Larry Rohrbach

The infamous Dr. No had an effect on many issues and his reputation for being against anything the government wanted to do allowed other senators to kill bad legislation and blame him for it. He was conservative before conservatism was cool.





Charlie Shields

He was a member of the house leadership and went right into senate leadership. He worked on the school foundation formula and during his time as Pro Tem, the Ford bill was passed. He also worked on several healthcare issues.





Delbert Scott

He was known by most senate observers as an honorable man who kept his word. He was elected to leadership just as he was in the house and was known as a moderate who would compromise to see issues passed. He was a leader in the medical malpractice field.





Jeff Smith

He was a senator who came from an urban, highly Democratic district, but was so skilled at building relationships that he was able to recruit a mass of rural Republican legislators that still have his back to this day. He was also a tireless advocate for his district and a protector of several state programs that have helped revitalize many parts of St. Louis.