JEFFERSON CITY — For the first time in Missouri history, a former House speaker will hold the Senate’s top position as Senate president pro tem.

JEFFERSON CITY — For the first time in Missouri history, a former House speaker will hold the Senate’s top position as Senate president pro tem.
Republican senators have named their current GOP leader, Ron Richard of Joplin, to fill the Senate president pro tem vacancy left by the resignation of Tom Dempsey. Richard serves Newton and McDonald counties.
Dempsey resigned from the position with a year left in his term to take a job with a conservative advocacy group. Richard was the floor majority leader under Dempsey.
“I’m filling out Tom’s final year,” Richard said. “Committee chairmans are already appointed, so that’s not going to change, and I’m going to be fair like him on sending the bills to committees and trying to get priorities of the caucus and trying to get priorities of senators.”
Richard’s selection came two months after one senator criticized the Senate for becoming too House-like in its approach to concentration of power.
As the first to serve as leader of the House and Senate, Richard said he can’t compare the two positions because the job descriptions are different.
“Everybody has their own mind and their own way to do things over here, and the rules are different over here,” he said.
Richard noted the historical significance of his two leadership positions.
“I am humbled and grateful knowing I have the trust and support of my fellow senators,” he said.

Nicole Shaddy of the statehouse bureau for Missouri Digital News contributed to this report.