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Harris appointed as circuit judge


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Former state Rep. Jeff Harris, D-Columbia, was appointed as a circuit judge by Gov. Jay Nixon Friday, replacing retiring judge Gary Oxenhandler.

Harris, who most recently served as Nixon’s policy director, will serve in the 13th Judicial Circuit, which covers Boone and Callaway Counties.


“Jeff Harris is an exceptional public servant who combines a brilliant legal mind, with impeccable character, integrity and ethics,” Nixon said. “Often the best judges are ones who have excelled both in their legal careers and at the highest levels of government. Jeff will bring both real-world experience and an exhaustive knowledge of Missouri law to the position of Circuit Judge. I thank Judge Oxenhandler for his distinguished service on the bench, and I know that Jeff will likewise serve the citizens of Boone and Callaway counties with distinction.”

While in the House from 2003 to 2009, Harris served as both minority floor leader and minority whip. He’s also served as head of the Attorney General’s Governmental Entities Unit from 2001 to 2002.

In private practice, Harris has worked for the Bryan Cave law firm in Kansas City and Atwill and Montgomery in Columbia.

Harris earned his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, magna cum laude, and his law degree from the Cornell Law School, where he was a member of the Board of Editors for the Cornell Law Review. He also clerked for Chief Justice William H. Barbour, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Harris will face judge Deborah Daniels in an August election.