Blunt Names New Agriculture Leader

9 years 5 months 1 hour ago May 03, 2007 May 3, 2007 Thursday, May 03 2007 Thursday, May 03, 2007 7:02:59 AM CDT in News

Smith would fill a position left by the former director, Fred Ferrell, who was resigned at the governor's request over a sexual harassment scandal.

Smith, 29, grew up on a farm in Platte County, which is north of the Missouri River on the Kansas border.

"Katie Smith was raised in the heart of Missouri agriculture and has spent her career working to promote our state's rich agriculture heritage," Blunt said.

Smith recently moved back to Missouri from Washington D.C. While in Washington, she worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  She also served for federal officials in both the U.S. House and Senate, including Missouri Senators Kit Bond and Jim Talent.  Her most recent job in Washington was as the deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Congressional and Inter-Government Affairs Office.

Because of her past involvement with the Department of Energy, Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields says her experience with the Department of Energy will be helpful in the state's advancement in renewable energy.

"Missourians can be pleased with the fact that Mrs. Smith has agreed to take on this important challenge and lead our state's agriculture department. Her experience in Missouri fields, our nation's legislative chambers and the executive branch of government will provide tremendous knowledge, insight and perspective to benefit Missouri agriculture and farm families," Blunt said.

If a debate Wednesday ends in a confirmation of Blunt's appointment, Smith will be the first woman in Missouri history to run the Agriculture Department. The Missouri Agriculture Department was formed in 1933.

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