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Romine to seek pro tem post


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The replacement of Tom Dempsey as pro tem of the Missouri Senate will officially take place as lawmakers reconvene for veto session, and at least two state senators are looking to lead the chamber.

Sen. Gary Romine formally informed his colleagues today that he’s looking for their support to elect him senate pro tem following Dempsey’ surprising resignation just days ago. Romine will be seeking the post against Sen. Ron Richard, the Joplin native who has served as floor leader under Dempsey.


Richard, a former Missouri House Speaker, is looking to become the first person to ever lead both chambers, and has spent time in the powerful floor leader post, widely credited with pushing through a controversial motion to cut off debate on a Right-to-Work late last spring that brought open revolt from Democrats.

Romine said he would largely be talking to his fellow members, not the media, about the peer election, which is set to take place the day before lawmakers gather in Jefferson City to consider overrides to Gov. Jay Nixon’s vetoes.

“I want to be actively involved in the future of the state,” Romine said. “I want to do my part to make sure the people of Missouri are represented, and that’s by done by making sure that all members of the senate are being represented.”

Romine said he admired Dempsey and former Pro Tem Mike Gibbons for their ability to give every lawmakers in the upper chamber the same treatment, keeping typically bitter partisan divides seen in the House from crippling the senate.

“It’s about the full body working together,” Romine said. “[Dempsey] and Mike Gibbons were both very good about that.”

Republicans will elect their Pro Tem from within their own ranks just before veto session begins, and the winner will be sworn in before vetoes are considered.