Nixon names McKenna as Labor Director, Fowler to Probation and Parole


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon announced two new gubernatorial appointments today for sitting lawmakers, Rep. Dennis Fowler, R-Dexter and Sen. Ryan McKenna, D-Jefferson County.

Fowler was named to the state Board of Probation and Parole, which oversees all parole and conditional release requests in the state. Fowler is a 38-year veteran of law enforcement, as well as one of 15 House Republicans that voted to sustain Gov. Nixon’s veto of a tax cut measure last summer.

Sen. Ryan McKenna

Sen. Ryan McKenna

McKenna, a 7-year member of the senate, was named as the new Director of the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. McKenna, a longtime friend of organized labor and a moderate Democrat, said it was an “honor” to be appointed.

“It is an honor to have the Governor ask me to be his director,” McKenna says. “To have an opportunity to serve in the cabinet for the governor is just something I can’t pass up, and I think I’ve proven myself on these issues as someone who can do the job.”

McKenna said his resignation from the senate would be “bittersweet” but that he felt it was the best move.

Rep. Dennis Fowler

Rep. Dennis Fowler

“I’ll keep an open mind, and I’m going into the job to treat people with respect, listen to all ideas and try to find workable solutions,” McKenna says. “I’m very excited to get started.”

Both men will have to be officially confirmed by the senate during the regular session. McKenna, who is well liked on both sides of the aisle, is expected to see a fairly smooth confirmation. Fowler — who could not be reached for comment — may face a bumpier process thanks to his support of Nixon’s veto of HB253.

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