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Nixon Stands Behind Nominee For Missouri Parole Board

Mo. House
Former Mo. State Rep. Dennis Fowler (R, Advance), has been nominated by Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to fill a seat on the State Board of Probation and Parole.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is defending his choice to fill a vacancy on the state Board of Probation and Parole.

Nixon nominated state Rep. Dennis Fowler, R-Advance, to the board last month; Fowler then gave up his seat in the Missouri House for the appointment. Fowler also happens to be one of the so-called "famous 15" House Republicans who voted against overriding Nixon's veto of a controversial tax cut bill (House Bill 253) last year.  Nixon, a Democrat, told reporters Thursday that Fowler's vote had nothing to do with his appointment to the parole board.

"Dennis has a 38-year career in law enforcement, and like others, I think he's highly qualified, highly capable, to serve on that board," Nixon said.  "It's (an) important posting – you want to put people on Probation and Parole that have a significant background (in that area)."

Fowler's appointment, though, depends on Senate confirmation, and several Republican senators say they'll block his appointment because of Fowler's vote last fall to support Nixon's tax cut veto.  None of the Republicans contacted by St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon for comment have returned calls.

Fowler's resignation from the Missouri House also left Republicans in that chamber one vote short of having a veto-proof majority.

A similar situation arose in December 2012 when Nixon appointed state Rep. Don Ruzicka, R-Mt. Vernon, to the same board. That move also temporarily winnowed the Republican majority in the Missouri House.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.