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Missouri's Economic Development director resigns

Monday, September 14, 2009 | 10:48 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The state official in charge of creating jobs in Missouri resigned Monday.

Linda Martinez, the director of the Department of Economic Development, submitted a letter of resignation that was received and accepted by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Neither Nixon nor Martinez were available to explain why she resigned only seven months after starting her post.

Martinez's letter to Nixon stated, "I am sorry we have been unable to meet, and therefore we have been unable to discuss and reconcile our different views on how to move the state that we both love forward."

According to a statement by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder on Monday, Nixon would not meet with his Cabinet official.

"I'm simply astounded that the governor refused to meet with a member of his own Cabinet," Kinder said. " ... And here we are with blow after blow after blow to Missouri's economy; (the) unemployment rate has inched up close to 10 percent, and the governor will not meet with his own economic development director. It's astounding."

A spokesman for the governor, Scott Holste, would not speak to Kinder's comments, but he did say the governor met with Martinez on Thursday.

When asked why she resigned, Holste said he didn't know.

"The governor certainly appreciates the work that she's done," Holste said, adding "Missouri is facing an extremely challenging economic development situation."

Martinez faced a filibuster in the state Senate and more than a month of deliberations before her nomination was eventually confirmed in February. During her confirmation she was accused of aiding illegal immigrants.

She is the first member of Nixon's Cabinet to resign.

Monday's resignation comes after a shake-up in the governor's personal staff, involving the removal of chief of staff John Watson as the liaison to the Department of Natural Resources and deputy chief of staff Dustin Allison as a liaison.

While the governor's office looks for a new director, deputy director Katie Steele Danner will serve as the interim director of the Department of Economic Development.


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