© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Martinez out as Mo. Economic Development chief

Linda Martinez
Greenblatt (UPI)
Linda Martinez

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – Linda Martinez has stepped down as Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Her resignation comes on the heels of rumors that Governor Jay Nixon had been unhappy with her performance.

Press Secretary Scott Holste would not comment on that, other than to say the governor appreciates the work she did during her tenure.

"The governor wishes her success in her return to private practice, (and) believes that she will continue to be an asset to the state in this position," Holste said.

In her resignation letter, Martinez cites not being able to meet with Governor Nixon to discuss "different views on how to move the state that we both love forward."

But Holste says the governor appreciates Martinez' accomplishments during her tenure.

"Her efforts to help create jobs and also her part in successfully passing the bipartisan jobs bill are going to continue to pay dividends to the people of Missouri for years to come," Holste said.

Martinez became Missouri's Economic Development Director after a stormy confirmation process. She was the target of a Senate filibuster over concerns that she would be soft on illegal immigration.

As an attorney Martinez had joined other lawyers in suing the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park, which had enacted a law fining businesses and landlords that hired and rented to illegal immigrants.

But Republicans, many of whom were critical of Martinez during her confirmation, are now blasting the Democratic governor following Martinez' resignation.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, in a written statement, said, "It is one thing for Governor Nixon not to meet with me; it is simply astounding for him to ignore his own Director of Economic Development.

Also, Jorge Riopedre of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis denounced Martinez' resignation as a "firing in political dressing."

Katie Steele Danner will serve as Interim Economic Development Director until a permanent replacement is hired.