At the end of Monday, Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley stepped down from his duties as speaker and from his seat in the state legislature. His office, however, will continue to serve constituents until the New Year.
“My office is still available for constituents,” he said. “They are eager to help.”
Tilley, R-Perryville, said on Tuesday that other than a possible veto session in September, which does not seem likely, his duties essentially are over. He resigned because he wants to be free to support certain political candidates in November without risking any appearance of compromise to the Speaker position or the House. He also looks forward to being out of the political spotlight.
“I’m looking forward to being a regular citizen,” said Tilley, who has been Speaker of the House for the 2011 and 2012 sessions.
Tilley is “termed out,” meaning he can no longer run for the legislature. His term would end after a new legislator in his district is elected in November and takes office in January. Since he has stepped down, Speaker duties will be handled by House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller until the majority party in the House as of November chooses a new Speaker for the upcoming session.
Tilley initially had planned to run for lieutenant governor, but stepped down from the race in November to spend more time with daughters Kourtney and Korrin. At the time, he was going through a divorce.
“Being a part-time legislator turned into a full-time job when I became Speaker of the Missouri House,” Tilley said in November. “As Speaker, I have given up weekends and traveled night after night meeting around the state fulfilling my duties.
“Running statewide would require me to spend even a greater amount of time apart from my daughters, something I am just not willing to do.”
Tilley, who is an optometrist in Perryville, has since supported several Republican candidates for election in the August primaries. Stepping down leaves him free to support certain campaigns in November.
Tilley was elected to the 106th District on Nov. 2, 2004, in the race for Kevin Engler’s seat. Engler successfully ran for the Senate in the same election.
Tilley quickly moved up in the ranks of the legislature. He was named “Freshmen Legislator of the Year” for his work on child protection and safety and was one of the lead sponsors in Missouri’s child sexual assault protection bill known as Jessica’s Law.
In Jan. 2005, Tilley was elected Floor Whip of the Missouri House of Representatives for the 93rd General Assembly. The following year, he served as chairman of the General Laws Committee for the House of Representatives
In his third year in the legislature, Tilley was named Majority Floor Leader, the fourth most powerful legislative position in the state. Only Speaker of the House has more control in the House of Representatives than the majority floor leader.
Tilley was sworn in as Speaker of the House Jan. 5, 2011.
Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.