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Who serves in Missouri’s executive branch? A look at the 22 positions

   

Missouri’s executive branch is made up of more than 20 officials — some who have been appointed and others elected.

In fact, only six of the 22 positions in the state government’s executive branch are elected positions: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, and attorney general. The other 16 positions are appointed by the governor or a commission.

However, since Gov. Mike Parson was elevated to serve as Missouri’s chief executive when the following governor resigned before his term was completed, more members of the executive branch are appointed than normal in the current administration.

Read on for a look at who serves in Missouri’s executive branch.

Elected officials

Mike Parson, governor

Mike Parson is sworn in by Supreme Court Judge Mary Russell as Missouri’s 57th governor. (ALISHA SHURR/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

Gov. Mike Parson took over as Missouri’s leader in June 2018 following the resignation of his predecessor. An Army veteran and third-generation farmer, Parson served in public policy for decades before becoming governor, from state representative to state senate to lieutenant governor.

Assumed office: June 2018; by ascension

Prior job: Lieutenant governor

Mike Kehoe, lieutenant governor

Before becoming the lieutenant governor, Mike Kehoe served as a state senator. (ALISHA SHURR/THE MISSOURI TIMES).

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe succeeded Parson as second-in-command of Missouri in June 2018. Previously, he served as a state senator where he held a variety of leadership positions — from majority floor leader to chairing committees. He has a beef cattle business on his family farm.

Assumed office: June 2018; by appointment

Prior job: State senator

Jay Ashcroft, secretary of state

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft testifies on legislation presented before a committee. (TIM BOMMEL/HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS.)

Prior to becoming Missouri’s 40th secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft worked as an engineer before he taught others in the field. Ashcroft, who was born in Missouri’s capital city, later attended law school and practiced for several years in St. Louis County.

Assumed office: January 2017; by election

Prior job: Lawyer, engineer teacher

Nicole Galloway, state auditor

State Auditor Nicole Galloway details the findings of her Single Statewide Audit in April 2017. (THE MISSOURI TIMES)

A certified public accountant and fraud examiner, longtime State Auditor Nicole Galloway has worked in both the public and private sector. She holds multiple degrees from the University of Missouri and Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Assumed office: April 2015; by appointment and later election

Prior job: Treasurer of Boone County

Scott Fitzpatrick, state treasurer

In the House, now-Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick chaired the Budget Committee. (TIM BOMMEL/HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS)

Before he became the state’s treasurer, Scott Fitzpatrick served in the Missouri state House and chaired the House Budget Committee for two years. He started his own marine construction and manufacturing company when he was just 17 years old.

Assumed office: January 2019; by appointment

Prior job: State representative

Eric Schmitt, attorney general

Attorney General Eric Schmitt is a former state senator.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s family has been rooted in Missouri for generations. Aside from his tenure in the executive branch, Schmitt has served in the state Senate and as an alderman. He credits his son, Stephen, for his catalyst for going into public service.

Assumed office: January 2019; by appointment

Prior job: State treasurer

Appointed officials

Sarah Steelman, Office of Administration commissioner

Sarah Steelman (PROVIDED/OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION).

Office of Administration Commissioner Sarah Steelman has had a storied career in Missouri government. She’s served as Missouri’s treasurer, a state senator, a deputy director within the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and as an economist for the Department of Revenue.  

Assumed office: February 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: Economics professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology

Chris Chinn, Department of Agriculture director

Chris Chinn (PROVIDED/AGRICULTURE DEPT.).

Department of Agriculture Director Chris Chinn has served with a plethora of agriculture-related groups, from the Missouri State Fair Commission to the Missouri Wine & Grape Board to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to the Missouri Pork Association. She still chairs the Shelby County Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers and is the secretary of the Shelby County Farm Bureau board of directors.

Assumed office: January 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Sara Parker Pauley, Department of Conservation director

Sara Parker Pauley (PROVIDED/CONSERVATION DEPT.).

Sara Parker Pauley serves as the ninth director of Missouri’s Department of Conservation — and this isn’t the first time she’s worked for the department. She first worked for the Conservation Department in the early 1990s as a policy analyst. Additionally, Pauley has taught at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources and worked as a project manager for a natural resources communications firm.

Assumed office: November 2016

Appointed by: Missouri Conservation Commission

Prior job: Missouri Department of Natural Resources director

Anne Precythe, Department of Corrections director

Anne Precythe (PROVIDED/CORRECTIONS DEPT.).

Director Anne Precythe is only the second woman to head the Department of Corrections. Previously, Precythe served in a variety of capacities for the North Carolina Division of Community Corrections, including overseeing an evidence-based practices project and serving as the Supervision Services administrator. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also appointed her to the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, on which she still serves.

Assumed office: February 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: North Carolina Department of Public Safety’s Division of Community Corrections director

Rob Dixon, Department of Economic Development director

Rob Dixon (PROVIDED/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPT.).

Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon has served in the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and led the largest higher education association in the state. Dixon is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has served in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Assumed office: January 2018

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: President and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association

Margie Vandeven, Department of Elementary & Secondary Education commissioner

Margie Vandeven (PROVIDED/ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION DEPT.).

Commissioner Margie Vandeven is at the helm of the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education — for the second time.  She previously led the department for three years, from 2014 to 2017. Vandeven is a former high school English teacher and administrator in both Maryland and Missouri and has served with the Missouri School Improvement Program and in the Office of Quality Schools.

Assumed office: January 2019 (second time)

Appointed by: Missouri Board of Education

Prior job: Director of educational partnerships for the SAS Institute in North Carolina

Randall Williams, Department of Health & Senior Services director

Randall Williams (PROVIDED/HEALTH & SENIOR SERVICES DEPT.).

Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Director Randall Williams is an OBGYN who has also worked overseas, including in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, and Libya. From North Carolina, Williams has also worked for the Department of Health & Human Services in the Tar Heel State.

Assumed Office: March 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: Deputy secretary and state health director for North Carolina’s Department of Health & Human Services

Zora Mulligan, Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development commissioner

Zora Mulligan (PROVIDED/HIGHER EDUCATION DEPT.).

Prior to leading the Department of Higher Education as its commissioner, Zora Mulligan worked for the department as an assistant commissioner, general counsel, and legislative liaison. She is also the former executive director of the Missouri Community College Association.

Assumed office: August 2016

Appointed by: Coordinating Board for Higher Education

Prior job: University of Missouri System chief of staff

Chlora Lindley-Myers, Department of Commerce & Insurance

Chlora Lindley-Myers (PROVIDED/INSURANCE, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS & PROFESSIONAL REGISTRATION DEPT.).

Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration Director Chlora Lindley-Myers has served in a variety of positions in Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. She’s also served as the director of the Consumer Protection and Anti-Fraud Division for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Assumed office: April 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: Tennessee Department of Commerce deputy commissioner

Anna Hui, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations director

Anna Hui (PROVIDED/LABOR & INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DEPT.).

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Anna Hui is the first Asian American to serve in the Missouri Cabinet in state history. Not only has she worked in Illinois’ Department of Labor, but Hui also served as the associate deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor during former President George W. Bush’s administration. Additionally, Hui is the former chief of staff to Elaine Chao, the current U.S. secretary of transportation.

Assumed office: January 2018

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: Acting director of the Illinois Department of Labor

Mark Stringer, Department of Mental Health director

Mark Stringer (PROVIDED/MENTAL HEALTH DEPT.).

The Missouri Mental Health Commission tapped Mark Stringer to lead the Department of Mental Health during Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration. In announcing his appointment, Nixon praised Stringer for “placing new law enforcement liaisons at each of our community mental health centers [and] expanding access to Mental Health First Aid training.”

Assumed office: July 2015

Appointed by: Missouri Mental Health Commission

Prior job: Division of Behavioral Health director

Carol Comer, Department of Natural Resources director

Carol Comer (PROVIDED/NATURAL RESOURCES DEPT.).

Before coming to Missouri, Department of Natural Resources Director Carol S. Comer worked in Indiana’s Department of Environment Management in a variety of capacities, serving under then-Gov. Mike Pence. As a lawyer, she has represented companies regarding environmental and utility matters in Indiana and Arizona.

Assumed office: January 2017

Appointed by: Gov. Eric Greitens

Prior job: Indiana Department of Environment Management commissioner

Sandy Karsten, Department of Public Safety director

Sandy Karsten (PUBLIC SAFETY DEPT.).

Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten has shattered glass ceilings; she is the first woman to lead the Public Safety Department and was the first female superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. She was first appointed to the Patrol in 1985.

Assumed office: September 2018

Appointed by: Gov. Mike Parson

Prior job: Missouri State Highway Patrol superintendent

Ken Zellers, Department of Revenue director

Ken Zellers (PROVIDED/REVENUE DEPT.).

After serving as the Department of Revenue’s acting director for half a year and chief operating officer since 2017, Ken Zellers was elevated to officially lead the department. Throughout his career, Zellers has held numerous positions with Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Assumed office: October 2019

Appointed by: Gov. Mike Parson

Prior job: Global Director of Operations, Brewing, and Quality for Anheuser-Busch InBev

Jennifer Tidball, Department of Social Services acting director

Jennifer Tidball was the deputy director of the Missouri Department of Social Services before she was tapped to take over as its acting director in mid-May following the resignation of Steve Corsi — and this isn’t the first time she’s served as the department’s acting director. She previously led the department for six months in 2017. Additionally, Tidball has worked as the interim MO HealthNet division director.

Assumed office: May 2019

Appointed by: Gov. Mike Parson

Prior job: Department of Social Services deputy director

Patrick McKenna, Department of Transportation director

Patrick McKenna (PROVIDED/TRANSPORTATION DEPT.).

Missouri Department of Transportation Director Patrick McKenna spent several years working on the East Coast before coming to the Show-Me State. He served as the deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and worked for more than a decade in the U.S. Senate.

Assumed office: December 2015

Appointed by: Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission

Prior job: New Hampshire Department of Transportation deputy commissioner