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Governor names several area civic leaders to state boards and commissions

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 5, 2012 - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has tapped former St. Louis Board of Aldermen president Jim Shrewsbury, and former state Rep. Jim Avery, for key appointments on state boards that oversee labor and the St. Louis convention center.

Nixon also has named former state Economic Development Director David Kerr to the Missouri Technology Corp. -- the former employer of Jason Hall, Kerr's replacement.

The governor announced Wednesday that he is nominating Avery, a Republican from south St. Louis County, to the state Labor and Industrial Relations Commission. If confirmed by the state Senate, Avery would serve until June 27, 2016.

Avery currently is chairman of the state Board of Mediation. He served in the state House from 2003-2009.

Shrewsbury, a Democrat, has been chosen for the St. Louis Regional Convention Center and Sports Complex Authority. A lawyer, Shrewsbury served as a St. Louis alderman for 24 years, including a five-year stint as board president.

Shrewsbury also will need state Senate approval to serve on the sports authority; the term would end May 31, 2016.

No Senate approval is needed for Kerr, who just stepped down as the state's chief economic development official. Kerr, of Ballwin, has been named to the Missouri Technology Corporation, which is charged with "finding better ways for Missouri businesses to work with universities to solve the businesses' technical problems; bringing increased research funding to universities for life sciences, information technology and advanced manufacturing; and creating and managing a system to bring new technologies and ideas effectively into the consumer marketplace to create new jobs and help businesses grow."

Hall, recently named by the governor to replace Kerr, had been executive director of the Missouri Technology Corporation.

The governor also named several other area civic leaders to various posts -- all of which will require Senate approval. The nominees include:

-- Christine Chadwick, to the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents;

-- Melanie R. Rippetoe, of Vinita Park, to the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA);

-- Kevin Roberts, of Hillsboro, to the State Fair Commission.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.