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Nixon names lawyer to GOP slot on St. Louis County Election Board

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2009 - Gov. Jay Nixon late today has announced a new appointment to the St. Louis County Election Board -- only his second since taking office in January.

Nixon's choice: Julie Jones, a Republican and business lawyer with the Jones Law Firm LLC, which has offices in west St. Louis County.

She replaces Chaim Zimbalist, a Democrat who had been appointed by Nixon's GOP predecessor, then-Gov. Matt Blunt.

The board oversees county elections and procedures, including the voting equipment. By law, the four-person panel must have two Republicans and two Democrats.

In February, Nixon appointed Richard H. Kellett, a fellow Democrat and a pipefitter from Florissant. Kellett, 74, also is a retired labor activist with Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, a politically influential group in regional politics.

Kellett had replaced John Fox Arnold, a Republican and lawyer who had been serving as the board's chairman. Kellett is the current chairman.

Nixon spokesman Scott Holste declined to say when the governor might make his final two appointments to the board.

The two holdovers, at the moment, are Democrat Bill Miller and Republican Anita Yeckel, a former state senator.

The county Election Board's meetings have apparently been sporatic since Nixon took office. The last minutes on its Web site are from its January 2009 meeting, but board staff say there have been several meetings since then.

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.

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