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‘Not a more dedicated public servant’: Wayne Wallingford named Revenue director 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After a lengthy career in the Missouri Legislature, Rep. Wayne Wallingford will join the governor’s Cabinet as the Department of Revenue in January. 

Wallingford returned to the lower chamber for a second term this session after serving in the Missouri Senate from 2013-2020. Before his tenure in the legislature, he held leadership positions in the U.S. Air Force and with major food chains — management experience Gov. Mike Parson said made him a perfect fit to lead the department (DOR). 

“We look forward to him implementing his vision at DOR to provide the best possible service for the people of Missouri,” Parson told reporters Wednesday. “There is not a more dedicated public servant that I’ve ever met than Wayne Wallingford, and I look forward to him being part of the team.”

Wallingford spent nearly 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, serving as chief of the Intelligence Division in the U.K. and the Electronic Intelligence Analysis Division in Hawaii. He was awarded several medals during his service, including the Silver Star. 

He has also worked as McDonald’s chief people officer for southwest Missouri, vice president of operations for iSold IT in central Missouri, and in various leadership positions with Taco Bell.

The Cape Girardeau Republican has chaired both the House and Senate Ways and Means committees during his legislative tenure. 

“To say it’s a great honor to serve on the governor’s Cabinet would be an understatement. I look forward to working with the other Cabinet members to make sure Missouri remains a great place to live, work, and raise a family,” Wallingford said. “Success isn’t built on just one individual; it takes a team effort. I know I’m inheriting a great team at the Department of Revenue, and together we will continue to work to ensure Missourians get the kind of customer service they deserve.” 

Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) President and CEO Ray McCarty applauded the appointment, saying AIM’s Tax Committee would work with Wallingford to “ensure the tax laws are administered as fairly as possible for Missouri taxpayers.”

“We have enjoyed working with Director Wallingford during his tenure in the Missouri Legislature, and we look forward to working with him in this new role,” McCarty said in a statement.

“I think Wayne is an excellent choice,” Sen. Holly Rehder, who now holds Wallingford’s seat in the upper chamber, told The Missouri Times. “He’s seen first-hand how important this department is to our constituents — and how costly it can be for them when it isn’t running efficiently.”

Wallingford’s appointment follows a Cabinet shakeup in October that saw new leadership for several agencies, including the Department of Social Services, Department of Economic Development, and the Office of Administration (OA).

Former DOR Director Ken Zellers took over OA after two years at the helm of DOR, leaving Joseph Plaggenberg, the department’s former general counsel, as its acting director.

Parson also welcomed incoming Department of Mental Health Director Valerie Huhn to her position Wednesday. Huhn will replace retiring Director Mark Stringer on Jan. 1. 

Judge Darrell E. Missey of Jefferson County was also unveiled as the new director of DSS’s Children’s Division Wednesday.

This story has been updated with Rehder’s comment.