JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday that he appointed long time public servant and former Senate Minority Leader Maida Coleman, D-St. Louis, to the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Coleman will begin work as a commissioner Aug. 10, replacing departing chair of the panel Robert Kenney. She believes her history as a legislator in Jefferson City (she has worked as both a state senator and a state representative) give her an ability to look at situations without too much bias.
“The good thing about the experience in the legislature is that you get to you look into a lot of things,” Coleman said Thursday. “I heard testimony, I worked on both sides of the aisle and I was known for trying to work through problems and to make progress. I think those skills will be what helps me because I will be fair to industry and to consumers.”
Other legislators who knew her well agreed that she was a level-headed problem solver.
“She’ll pay attention and focus on the acts and evidence put in front of her,” former Sen. Mike Gibbons said. Gibbons acted as the President Pro Tem of the Senate when Coleman was the minority leader for the Democrats.
“We come from different parties and different backgrounds, and I think she always had an appreciation for balance,” he continued. “She was a good minority leader for her side, we had an excellent relationship. There were no surprises or games played. We worked together quite a bit, I have the utmost respect for her.
Longtime friend and current state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said she would often follow and track Coleman’s career as a legislature.
“She [Coleman] will serve the state of Missouri in a great way,” Sen. Nasheed said. “She is a true public servant, she is a really good friend of mine, and I do look up to her… The PSC is going to do some great things with her in that position.”
Heat Up St. Louis, an organization dedicated to helping St. Louisans in extreme weather by providing air conditioners and heaters, said the appointment “… sends a positive message throughout the state of Missouri.”
Coleman was once on the board of directors of that organization.