Serving the community is second nature to the Dempsey family. Whether it’s working in politics to help shape the community or serving on a foundation board to make a difference, Tom and Molly Dempsey have been sharing their time and talents with the St. Charles area for more than two decades.
“We’ve been so blessed to live here and raise our family. Of course we want to give back to the community that has given us so much over the years,” said Molly.
Molly said she and Tom also had great role models growing up.
“Our parents set great examples for us,” said Molly. “They were very charitable with their time and talent when we were growing up, and they continue to be that way today.”
Molly currently serves on the Community and Children’s Resource Board (CCRB).
“We partner with a lot of the not-for-profit agencies in St. Charles County that assist children and families in need. It’s truly been eye-opening to see what a great support system we have right here in our county to help families,” said Molly.
Molly also recently joined the St. Charles City-County Library Foundation Board.
“I have such fond memories of my mom taking my sisters and me to the library, and of me taking our children there and leaving with armloads of books. My daughters are both avid readers to this day,” said Molly.
Tom is on the Advisory Board of the Crisis Nursery and the Central Bank Board for St. Charles County. He was also the Founding Co-Chair for the Taste of St. Charles as a member of the St. Charles Noonday Rotary Club. Tom also coached his son Jack’s soccer team when he was in grade school.
The couple met back in college where they both attended Rockhurst College (now University) in Kansas City.
“We met through mutual friends our freshman year, then started dating at the beginning of sophomore year when Tom threw me a birthday party. I’ve always said he’s my favorite birthday present,” said Molly.
Tom and Molly got married after college and moved to St. Charles in 1991. The couple has been married for 26 years, and have three children: Meaghan, 25, who graduated from Tulane University in 2015 and now works for Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Abby, 23, graduated from Mizzou in 2016 and works for Full Stop Management in Los Angeles. Jack, 18, is a senior at Duchesne High School.
When the couple first moved to St. Charles they worked together at The Columns Banquet & Conference Center.
“Since I was pregnant, I stopped working for a while when Meaghan was born,” said Molly. “Working together wasn’t difficult — I worked regular business hours, and Tom worked banquet center hours (some office hours but also nights and weekends as needed) so we weren’t necessarily together 24/7.”
In 1998, after managing the banquet center for several years, Tom was asked by a friend if he was interested in running for the City Council.
“With a supportive wife and a young family, I decided it was time to step forward and take an active role in shaping the community where we lived, worked, and were raising our children,” said Tom. “My desire was to hopefully continue to provide leadership that so many others before me had provided to make St. Charles a great hometown.”
Even as a teenager, Tom had a strong interest in public service. Born in St. Charles, Tom is a graduate of DeSmet Jesuit High School and received a B.A. degree in Political Science from Rockhurst University.
“I really liked my government-related classes: American History, Social Studies and American Government. At that time, Ronald Reagan was president and his message of American Exceptionalism resonated with me,” said Tom. “I was also fortunate to witness many great examples of service and leadership here in St. Charles, and I liked the idea of working to better my community, my city, and my state.”
He was elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2007, where he quickly rose to the rank of Majority Floor Leader before being unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as the Senate President Pro-Tem in 2013. Tom’s career in politics grew over the years, gaining extensive experience in issue advocacy, legislative initiatives, and public policy issues. He previously served seven years in the Missouri House of Representatives (2001-2007), where he also held key leadership posts as Majority Leader and Chairman of the Job Creation and Economic Development Committee. Tom works with some of the Gate Way Group’s existing corporate and association clients in energy, transportation, education, and economic development, engaging with policy leaders at the local, state, and federal levels. He is the only person to have served as the Majority Leader in both the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives.
“Public service was complemented by my customer service background as a third-generation restauranteur. I have always enjoyed giving people a positive experience. In the restaurant business, it’s providing good food, good service, in a clean, nice atmosphere,” said Tom. “In politics, it’s working with my colleagues to get things done and move Missouri forward for my constituents and all Missouri residents.”
Of all of his tenure in politics, Tom said his proudest moment occurred while working as the president of the Senate.
“While there, I worked to foster an environment where people worked together, many times across party lines, to get results. We were able to accomplish many things that had only been talked about in previous years. I’m pretty proud of that,” said Tom.
During his tenure as Senate President Pro Tempore, the General Assembly adopted the first tax cut in 100 years, addressed the insolvency of the Worker’s Compensation Second Injury Fund, supported a major bonding bill to invest in higher education and workforce development, and handled the largest rewrite of the criminal code in 30 years. The Legislature also passed an initiative to increase transportation funding, two significant education reform bills to spur student achievement, and a successful special session to attract a major economic development opportunity for the Aerospace Industry in St. Louis.
Molly, who has a B.S.B.A. degree with a major in marketing, worked for the Columns Banquet Center off and on over the years. Previous experience included a position as the government affairs director and special events planner for the St. Charles County Association of Realtors and the Business Development Manager at the Family Arena. Molly is currently working as the Community Relations Manager for St. Charles County Government.
When they aren’t working, the couple loves to travel and check out new restaurants.
“Tom is a history buff and I like the beach,” said Molly. We are foodies and enjoy discovering new restaurants, and Tom and I both really like to cook. We are big fans of Cardinals baseball and Mizzou football and basketball. And of course, I love a good book.”
St. Charles City-County Library Foundation, Board Member 2017 – present
Cottleville-Weldon Spring Chamber of Commerce, Member 2017 – present
O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Member 2017 – present
Western St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, Member 2017 – present
Community Council of St. Charles County 2017 – present
Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce, Member 2015 – present
Community and Children’s Resource Board, Board Member 2015 – present
Crisis Nursery Blue Ribbon Committee, Member