Peter D. Kinder (Republican) was elected Missouri’s 46th Lieutenant Governor on November 2, 2004, carrying 91 of Missouri’s 114 counties.
Born and raised in Cape Girardeau, Kinder attended Cape Girardeau Public Schools and continued his education at Southeast Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Columbia. He graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979, and was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1980.
From 1981 to 1983, Kinder served as a member of U.S. Representative Bill Emerson’s Washington staff and then worked as an attorney and real estate representative for Drury Industries. In 1987, he became associate publisher of the Southeast Missourian.
In 1992, Peter Kinder was elected to the Missouri Senate where he served 12 years, representing the counties of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Mississippi, Perry, and Scott. In 2001, the Republicans gained a majority in the Missouri Senate for the first time in 53 years. As a result, Kinder was elected President Pro Tem, the top elected official in the Missouri Senate. When Kinder successfully ran for Lt. Governor in 2004, he became only the second sitting President Pro Tem to be elected Lieutenant Governor.
As Lieutenant Governor, Kinder serves as the official Senior Advocate for Missouri. While in the Missouri Senate, he sponsored and passed the Elderly Protection Act of 2003, which increased the penalties for elder abuse crimes. Through his leadership as President Pro Tem, Missouri crafted the Missouri Senior Rx plan, providing prescription drug coverage for the poorest seniors. In 2005, Senior Rx transitioned into Missouri Rx and now enrolls over 170,000 Missouri seniors. Kinder currently chairs the Missouri Rx Plan Commission.
Lt. Governor Kinder was instrumental in passing the 2006 Assisted Living Bill, a top priority of multiple senior advocacy organizations. This legislation clarified the definition of “Assisted Living” and gives seniors more options and choice in the type of long-term care facility they want to call home.
Kinder has led the fight for veterans issues. As President Pro Tem, he chaired an interim committee that studied subsidizing veterans homes and providing assistance to Missouri troops returning home from combat in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other parts of the world. In 2005, Lt. Governor Kinder proposed and helped to pass the Missouri Military Family Relief Fund, which benefits family members of the Missouri National Guard and Reserve personnel who have been called to active duty.
Kinder is currently coordinating the Missouri Mentor Initiative, a pilot program that encourages state employees to mentor children by receiving up to 40 hours a year in paid time off to volunteer. He also advocated for funding the Amachi Program that assists Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Missouri to mentor children whose parents are incarcerated in Missouri prisons.
The Lieutenant Governor is a member of several boards and commissions including: Tourism Commission (chair); Missouri Development Finance Board (chair); and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. In 1996, he was named chairman of the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C., based association of state legislators
Kinder served on three special committees in 2005 and 2006. He co-chaired the Mental Health Task Force, providing 25 recommendations to prevent abuse and neglect in the mental health system. The Government Review Commission made numerous recommendations to reform state government and agencies. The Energy Task Force examined ways to conserve energy usage and implement a comprehensive energy strategy.
Kinder is a member of the United Methodist Church, Beta Theta Pi social fraternity, Missouri Farm Bureau, Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, and Lions Club. He is active in many civic causes, including extensive work with Southeast Missouri Port Authority, United Way, Nature Conservancy, American Cancer Society, and Boy Scouts of America.Kinder has been honored by various groups including: Missouri Right to Life Defender of Life; National Rifle Association; University of Missouri, Presidential Citation Award; Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout; a special award from St. Louis Children’s Hospital, SSM Cardinal Glennon Hospital, and Children’s Mercy of Kansas City for support of the State Children’s Health Program and health care programs benefiting Missouri children; March of Dimes for Continued Commitment to Infant Healthcare; Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award; St. Louis Business Journal Legislative Award; Support Your Troops Committee Award; Missouri Farm Bureau Outstanding Service to Agriculture; St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association Lewis and Clark Statesman Award for Outstanding Leadership; Missouri Restaurant Association Distinguished Service; Associated Industries of Missouri Voice of Missouri Business; Services for Independent Living; Southeast Missouri Alliance for Disability Independence Elected Official Award; SSM Cardinal Glennon Hospital Child Advocate Award for Civic Commitment; National Federation of Independent Businesses Guardian of Small Business; Missouri State Medical Association for dedication to improving health care; and Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry Spirit of Enterprise.