Top Missouri senator Tom Dempsey to resign

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said Friday that he is resigning from office to launch a new private-sector career and spend more time with his family.

Dempsey told The Associated Press his resignation will take effect Aug. 7 and he hopes to say more about his new job in the coming weeks.

The Republican from St. Charles first was elected in 2000 to the House, where he rose through the ranks to become majority leader, and has served since 2007 in the Senate, again as majority leader before ascending to the chamber’s top position of president pro tem.

He is the fifth lawmaker to resign in the past year. But Dempsey said his departure is unrelated to recent scandals involving colleagues. Last week, Democratic Sen. Paul LeVota said he would resign effective Aug. 23 while denying allegations that he sexually harassed interns. In May, Republican House Speaker John Diehl resigned after acknowledging he exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with an intern.

Dempsey said he had considered stepping down late last year but decided to wait until after the 2015 legislative session in order to maintain continuity in the Senate after the chamber’s longtime secretary and its staff administrator both retired.

“It’s time to do this for my family,” Dempsey said in an AP interview before releasing a written statement about his resignation. Serving in public office has “been rewarding, it’s been challenging, but it also takes its toll.”

Dempsey, 48, and his wife, Molly, have three children. One daughter recently graduated from college, another attends the University of Missouri and his son is entering his sophomore year in high school.

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Source: AP