Rep. Tom Hannegan, an affable Republican state representative from St. Charles County, passed away Wednesday. He was known in the General Assembly as a man of deep conviction and unrivaled integrity.
“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the news of our colleague and beloved friend’s departure today. Rep. Hannegan was a strong person of conviction in these chambers, a truly wonderful person and a dedicated public servant who will be greatly missed,” House leadership said in an email to colleagues Thursday.
“Tom will forever be remembered for his determination to serve those in need as well as his great love for all people. We extend our thoughts and prayers to the many friends and family who loved Tom. He will be greatly missed.”
Wanda Mehrhoff, his legislative assistant, praised Hannegan’s leadership and compassion.
“Tom was never a boss; he was a true friend,” Mehrhoff said. “His undying compassion for others was reflected in the true statesman and champion that he was. He will be forever loved and truly missed.”
Hannegan was unabashedly himself and a role model to many. He was one of only a handful of openly gay legislators in the General Assembly. He was an advocate for the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act, but perhaps more importantly he was an advocate for acceptance and others.
“Thomas P. Hannegan was one of the most genuine people I have ever known,” said Rep. Bruce DeGroot, whose office neighbored Hannegan’s. “He was true to himself and treated everyone he met with respect and dignity. He was a statesman. Most important to me, Thomas P. Hannegan was my friend. He will be sorely missed by the General Assembly.”
Hannegan was chairman of the House Local Government and served on the Children and Families Committee as well as the Special Committee on Criminal Justice.
He was first elected to his St. Charles County seat in 2016. He was the publisher and editor of Street Scape Magazine and an associate broker with the family-owned Hannegan Real Estate & Construction LLC.
Tom Hannegan was my GOP colleague, a fellow openly gay legislator, and mostly, my friend.
Tom was thoughtful and quiet. But in certain moments he was the life of the party – funny, silly, and full of joy.
I’ll keep flying that 🏳️🌈 flag for you…and I’ll miss you, friend. pic.twitter.com/UJDWh2Pgo8
— Greg Razer (@gregrazer) October 20, 2021
Born in St. Louis, Hannegan graduated from Duchesne High School and was an alumnus of Lindenwood College where he also received a Master’s in human resources.
“Representative Hannegan was a friend to many and a passionate champion for so many important issues. His presence in the Missouri Legislature will be missed and his legacy will endure for years to come,” said Senate leadership in a joint statement.
“Tom was a kind and thoughtful person who cared about others and always put people before politics. His sudden passing is a great loss, but he leaves a legacy as a champion for equality under the law for all Missourians,” said House Minority Leader Crystal Quade.
“One of the classiest and kindest people I have been blessed to serve with. He will be missed forever,” said Rep. Keri Ingle.
“So very sad to hear about the passing of Rep Tom Hannegan. He was a strong, consistent pro-life advocate in the Missouri House, and was always a delight to talk to and work with. May his soul rest in peace, and prayers for his family and colleagues,” said Campaign for Life’s Sam Lee.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.