Did You Know: State Senators


Missouri’s 34 state senators hail from a variety of diverse backgrounds including business, law, education, and agriculture. Many lawmakers in the Senate started their legislative careers in the Missouri House of Representatives. Currently, 26 senators previously served in the House.


The average age of those currently serving in the Missouri Senate is approximately 50. The youngest is 35 years old and the oldest senator is 70.


Senator Michael Kinney was the oldest to serve in the Missouri Senate. Elected in 1912 and retiring in 1968 at the age of 93, Sen. Kinney also served the longest time in the Missouri Senate.

Senator Michael Kinney

Senator Michael Kinney


Senator Theodore McNeal
Senator Mary Gant
Senator Gwen Giles
Elected in 1960, Senator Theodore McNeal was Missouri’s first African-American state senator. Five African-Americans currently serve in the Missouri Senate. Missouri’s first woman state senator, Mary Gant, served from 1972 until 1980. Eleven women currently serve in the Missouri Senate Elected in 1977, Senator Gwen Giles was Missouri’s first African-American woman state senator.


Senator J.O. Morrison (no photo available) and Sen. James L. Mathewson (right) were the longest-serving state Senate President Pro Tems in Missouri history. They each served for eight years.

The President Pro Tem (President Pro Tempore) is a member of the Senate who is elected by the entire body to manage procedural functions and rule on parliamentary matters.


At least 50 state senators have attained higher statewide office or become a U.S. senator or congressman for Missouri.


Missouri state senators earn an annual salary of about $35,915.


More than half of Missouri’s state senators reside in one of the state’s three largest metropolitan areas — Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield.
  In 2001, the Republican party won the Missouri Senate majority for the first time since 1948. Current party split is 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats.


The geographic size of Missouri’s 34 state senatorial districts ranges from a few square miles in some urban areas to 15 counties in some rural areas. Each state senator represents a district comprised of approximately 180,000 Missourians.


The Missouri Senate meets each year from early January to mid-May for the regular legislative session. In the weeks during this time, the Missouri Senate typically meets from mid-afternoon Mondays to mid-afternoon Thursdays. The same holds true for the Missouri House of Representatives.


There are currently 19 standing committees in the Missouri Senate. With rare exception, all Missouri Senate chamber proceedings, committee meetings and committee hearings are open to the public and the media.


The shortest bill introduced in the Missouri Senate was one line long. One of the longest bills ever introduced was Senate Bill 491 in 2014. At more than 1,100 pages, the bill was filed to make comprehensive changes to Missouri’s criminal laws.   Taxes, education, health care and crime are some of the most debated subjects in the Senate. Major legislative topics focus on job creation and the state’s budget.


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