Keaveny set to depart Senate for judgeship

From the Missouri Times

Sen. Joe Keaveny, D-St. Louis, got something of a promotion last Thursday night from Gov. Jay Nixon.

Nixon selected the longtime legislator to become an administrative law judge in St. Louis, within the Department of Labor. While Keaveny still has to fill out an application and go through a background check, the job is essentially his to take.

“I’m honored. It’s definitely an area I’d like to pursue. It will be a change… I love being a senator.”

The chamber treated him with dignity on what became his last day in the Senate, should he take the position before veto session. He received a standing ovation after being introduced to the body by Sen. Rob Schaaf, was repeatedly addressed as “your honor” or “the honorable,” and for the first time in his seven sessions in the Senate, the majority party allowed him to preside over the body from the dais.

“I’ll miss the camaraderie, the people up here,” Keaveny said.

With only two years left in the body before his term expired, Keaveny took a chance to find another position despite his love for the Senate.

“The problem with term limits is you have to find something else to do,” he said. “This opportunity came up, so I would have been foolish to pass it up.”

His departure will open up leadership positions for both the minority caucus chair and Senate minority leader. Even though the state has turned increasingly red, the de facto leader of the Democratic caucus in the legislature said he believes the future is bright for his party.

“The pendulum has swung too far and it’s starting to come back,” Keaveny said. “I expect to pick up a seat or two in the Senate in November, I would expect to pick up a couple of more seats in the House. I think the general public is not as conservative as the agenda that’s being proposed.”

While Keaveny has not wanted to endorse anyone to fill his seat, state Reps. Jake Hummel and Michele Kratky have both already announced their intentions to run.