Nixon appoints Jeff Harris as policy director

Thursday, January 8, 2009 | 6:11 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Former Columbia Rep. Jeff Harris moves into his new job Monday as policy director for Gov.-elect Jay Nixon.

His office will be just down the hall of the State Capitol — Room 204 to Room 216 — from his old legislative post.

Other appointments

Other central Missouri Nixon appointments include:

John Watson of Jefferson City, chief of staff.

Dustin Allison of Columbia, deputy chief of staff.

Ted Ardini of Columbia, counsel to the governor.

Jack Cardetti of Columbia, communications director.

Scott Holste of Jefferson City, press secretary.


Harris served Columbia for three terms in the House of Representatives. Nixon appointed him policy director earlier this week.

His duties will include formulating policy for the administration and the state. He said he will work with members of the Nixon staff, the General Assembly, Missouri residents and others to create policy that "moves our state forward."

Nixon plans to outline priorities as governor in the upcoming weeks, Harris said.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to have a job that, essentially, only 49 other people in the country have,” he said.

Harris is a 1983 graduate of Hickman High School and was first elected as representative for District 23 in 2002.  He served a year as minority whip and three as minority leader. He was assistant attorney general prior to his election to the General Assembly.

“Being a leader in the Democratic Party was one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my tenure in the legislature,” he said.

He said service has always been of interest to him. 

“The idea of trying to make the world a better place was ingrained by my parents,” he said. “It is the ethos by which I try to live.”

He started in politics at a young age, working on his father's campaign for the Columbia School Board.  

“The avenue I’ve taken is public service, but that is not the only way to make a difference in the world," Harris said.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in 1987 and a law degree from Cornell Law School in 1991.  

He has nearly 20 years of experience as an attorney, including time spent with the Bryan Cave law firm in Kansas City. He and his wife, Katie, have a 15-month-old daughter, Grace.



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