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Missourian pick for Delta authority job

WASHINGTON -- Peter Kinder, who served three terms as Missouri's lieutenant governor, has been nominated to serve as alternate federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.

The 63-year-old Cape Girardeau, Mo., native will be the agency's second-highest presidential appointee.

The Delta authority, which awards millions of dollars in grants each year, "fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents," its website states.

The top position, previously held by Arkansan Chris Masingill, is currently vacant.

Created in 2000 with the support of President Bill Clinton, the Delta authority covers parts of seven states along the Mississippi River plus Alabama, and encompasses 252 counties and parishes, many of them with high rates of poverty.

One of 19 independent agencies originally targeted for closure by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the authority has offices in Clarksdale, Miss., and Washington, D.C.

Under U.S. law, the alternate federal co-chairman performs "such functions and duties as are delegated by the federal cochairperson."

The previous alternate federal co-chairman -- Sikeston, Mo., chamber of commerce director Mike Marshall -- said he's glad that Kinder will be replacing him.

"I was an Obama appointee, and he's a Republican, so we've always been on the opposite teams, but we've always been good close friends," Marshall said. "He's a good guy. ... I consider him a statesman."

Kinder, an attorney and a former newspaperman, may belong to another party, but Marshall said they both share a commitment to the Delta region and its people.

"I think Peter will carry on [in] the same fashion that we did. I think he'll do a good job because a lot of the issues that we deal with in the Delta region aren't partisan issues, they're Delta issues," he added.

David Limbaugh, a conservative author and attorney from Cape Girardeau, said Kinder was a good choice.

"He is a very intelligent, honorable man of good character," he said.

Limbaugh, the younger brother of radio personality Rush Limbaugh, grew up with Kinder.

"He's got a very sharp mind. He's been a conservative since we were in high school," David Limbaugh said. "He's very interested in the things that I think are important to this job ... in economic growth and in business, so I think his skill set and his interests will serve very nicely in this position."

Alternates haven't been required to live in Clarksdale, Miss., or Washington, but they've got a lot of ground to cover.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette senior editor Rex Nelson, who held the post during the George W. Bush administration, said he traveled extensively during his time on the job.

"It entailed getting on the road and putting ... well over 100,000 miles on my car in the four years that I held the position," Nelson said.

As the alternate, he did "a lot of visiting, bridge building, speaking around the eight-state region that the DRA represents," Nelson said. "The last full year I was with DRA was 2008. I was away from home 110 nights that year."

Metro on 08/12/2017

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