State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says he is ready to take his political career to the next level and has thrown his hat into the ring for Senate President Pro Tempore.
The phrase pro tempore is Latin “for the time being” and is the No. 2 position in the Missouri Senate,
Schatz said there is still a lot of time and questions between now and the in-house election, but he feels now is the time to make his intentions known and start building relationships.
“If the first spot is available, why settle for second?” Schatz said. “I think I’m qualified to do it. First, I have to get re-elected in 2018.”
Schatz said the pro tem elections are held within the Senate every two years and Ron Richard, who currently holds the position, will be term limited out, leaving a vacuum.
“This decision has been my own,” Schatz said. “In this term-limited world we only have a short time. I’ve always been the type that if decisions are being made, I want to be in the room.”
He added as of now there are no trends showing there is any chance of the Republicans losing their majority in the Senate after the 2018 elections either.
If Schatz is successful in his bid for the leadership position, it will limit the number of bills he will file, but it will raise his stature overall and with it the districts he represents, including Franklin County.
“It would be good for Franklin County,” Schatz said. “It would definitely bring clout.”
Second only to the lieutenant governor, the pro tem presides over Senate sessions in the absence of the Senate president and ensures that members follow the body’s rules and procedures.
“The pro tem negotiates legislation and makes committee assignments,” Schatz said. “He is also chairman of the gubernatorial appointments.”
Schatz added in addition to the pro tem duties inside the Senate chamber, there are multiple duties outside, including traveling the state. “The type of job I have and business allows me more time to do those things,” Schatz said. “I have to get out there now and start building relationships.”
With another year still left on his current term, Schatz said he knows at least two of his colleagues who are interested in the pro tem position and he will have to make his case with friends and newcomers.
“There will be four or five new senators who will be voting on pro tem as well,” Schatz said. “The pro tem election is held two days after the general election in November.”
Schatz is currently chairman of the Senate transportation committee and serves on five other committees and subcommittees.
Before being elected to the Senate in 2014, Schatz served in the Missouri House of Representatives.