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Kraus to step down as state senator, will join State Tax Commission

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – It seems that some of the rumors are true: Sen. Will Kraus will be stepping down as a state senator.

Gossip had spread that the Republican senator would be leaving his District 8 seat to take an appointment, several of the rumors going as far as saying it would be with the Trump administration in Veterans Affairs, and his seat will be up for a special election.

Kraus is leaving his seat, but according to a statement from the Governor’s Office on Monday afternoon, the state senator has been appointed as one of the three members of the State Tax Commission and will be the successor of Ryan McKenna.

Kraus will be resigning to assume his new post on July 31, 2017.

“It has been my honor to serve the citizens of Missouri’s 8th Senate District both as Senator for the past seven years, and as Representative the six years prior to that,” Kraus said. “I have had the privilege to serve in the Capitol alongside highly esteemed colleagues, and while I will miss our hallway conversations and debates on the floor, I will take with me the high standards of integrity and diplomacy with which we worked through differences to craft and pass meaningful, quality legislation.”  

Kraus was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2004 and then elected to the Senate in 2010, and would have been term limited in 2018. During his tenure, Kraus sponsored numerous pieces of tax reform legislation. In 2014, Kraus sponsored SB 509, legislation that lowered the state’s income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. Kraus successfully sponsored SB 18 in 2015, legislation aiming to protect tax payers by requiring the Department of Revenue to notify businesses if there is a change in the way sales tax law is interpreted, and in 2017, he sponsored SB 16, which exempts delivery charges from sales and use taxes. 

“Now a new call to serve has come, one that aligns with my legislative experience and affords me the opportunity to continue my lifetime commitment to service,” Kraus said. “Being an advocate for smaller government and lower taxes has been the cornerstone of my legislative career. Accordingly, I am honored to accept the governor’s appointment and look forward to continuing my work on behalf of the taxpayers of the great state of Missouri.”

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Monday tweeted a photo of the Writ of Elections received for three seats, including the seats of former Rep. Randy Dunn in House District 23, former Rep. Tila Hubrecht in House District 151, and Kraus’ seat in Senate District 8.

The special elections will be held on Nov 7, 2017.

Greitens also announced the following appointments on Monday:

  • Boone County Clerk

Taylor Burks, of Columbia, was appointed as the new Boone County Clerk. The position became vacant after the resignation of the previous Clerk, Wendy S. Noren.

Burks is the Director of Distribution, Inventory and Asset Management at the University of Missouri System. In 2008, he received his commission in the United States Navy through OCS and as an active duty officer, he achieved the rank of Lieutenant while serving for nearly eight years. He continues to serve as Lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserves. Burks holds a bachelor’s degree in justice systems from Truman State University, a master’s degree in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s degree in accounting from Washington University.


  • Conservation Commission

Nicole Wood was appointed as a member of the Conservation Commission. Wood will be the successor to James Blair.

Wood is the Director of Operations at Woodland Operations and Maintenance, where she is involved in the daily management of 20,000 acres of land. She worked on the establishment of a conservation easement in Texas County targeting the restoration and conservation of the Current River Watershed. Wood serves on the National Wildlife Federation, the Conservation Federation of Missouri, the Parkland Hospital Foundation Board, and the National Wildlife Federation Endowment.


  • Missouri State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees

Gary Metzger and Joe Keifer were appointed as members of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.

Metzger is the Missouri and Kansas Regional Chairman of Simmons Bank. He previously worked as Chairman, President, and CEO of Liberty Bank for 20 years. Metzger holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from MacMurray College and a master’s degree in economics from Western Illinois University.

Keifer is Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Cornerstone Wealth Management LLC, a comprehensive investment advisory firm in Des Peres. He has worked in the field of financial management since 1998. Keifer holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.


  • State Board of Education

Melissa Gelner, Eddy Justice, and Delbert Scott were appointed as members of the State Board of Education.

Gelner is Chief Kinship Officer at Askinosie Chocolate, Executive Director of Chocolate University, and Principal at M Gelner Marketing. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa.

Justice is Owner and an agent of Eddy Justice State Farm Insurance Agency. He has sustained this position for over 15 years. Justice holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from John Brown University.

Scott is President of Kansas Christian College. He previously served as a Missouri State Senator, and a Missouri State Representative. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in education, comprehensive social studies, from Southwest Missouri State College.


  • Shannon County Public Administrator

Teresa Acord, of Eminence, was appointed as the new Shannon County Public Administrator. The position became vacant after the resignation of the previous Public Administrator, Matthew Derryberry. 

Acord is an Adult Education and Literacy Instructor at Missouri State University and Owner of The Knapp House Bed and Breakfast. She has previously worked as an Adult Education Instructor for Houston R-I, and as an Adjunct Business Instructor for Southwest Baptist University. Acord holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in business administration, both from Southwest Baptist University.


  • University of Missouri Board of Curators

Julia Brncic, Jon Sundvold, and Courtney Lauer were appointed as members of the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Brncic is Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Express Scripts. She has previously worked as Assistant General Counsel and Senior Council for Express Scripts. Brncic holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Purdue University. She holds a law degree and an executive master’s of business administration degree, both from Washington University.

Sundvold is President and Founder of Sundvold Financial, a registered investment advisory firm established in 1997. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Missouri. Sundvold was a member of the University of Missouri basketball program and went on to play nine years in the National Basketball Association.

Lauer is a student at the University of Missouri, School of Law pursing a Master of Laws degree in dispute resolution. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Columbia College, and a law degree from the University of Missouri. Lauer assists the Mock Trial team at the University of Missouri.