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Missouri Governor Mike Parson (at podium) prepares to introduce new Cabinet members Valerie Huhn and Wayne Wallingford to Capitol reporters in Jefferson City (December 29, 2021 photo courtesy of the governor's Flickr page)

Two familiar names in Jefferson City to lead key Missouri Cabinet posts

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (at podium) prepares to introduce new Cabinet members Valerie Huhn and Wayne Wallingford to Capitol reporters in Jefferson City (December 29, 2021 photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Missouri’s governor has appointed a powerful state lawmaker and a deputy director to lead two key state departments.

Governor Mike Parson announced the appointment of Valerie Huhn to lead the state Department of Mental Health (DMH), and State Rep. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) to head the state Department of Revenue (DOR).

Missouri’s new mental health director says her biggest concern is her agency’s workforce. DMH director Huhn briefed Capitol reporters in Jefferson City, after Wednesday’s announcement.

“Deliver of support and treatment has been much harder over the last two years. The men and the women who do this work have continued to deliver high-quality care during the pandemic and an ongoing workforce shortage across the system, that started well before the pandemic,” Huhn tells reporters.

Hoon, who’s served as DMH’s deputy director since 2020, says she’s grateful for their sacrifices. She replaces longtime DMH director Mark Stringer, who retired in October.

Meantime, the governor tapped a longtime state lawmaker to lead DOR. Rep. Wallingford chairs the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He’s served in the Legislature since 2013. Wallingford has also worked for the McDonald’s and Taco Bell corporations.

“Working for the two largest restaurant corporations in the world where customer service is king, customer service is also king in the (state) Department of Revenue. And we look forward to working with everyone over there to make sure that we have a world-class organization,” Wallingford says.

Wallingford served in the Missouri Senate from 2013-2020, before being elected to the House again. DOR primarily is involved with state tax returns and with renewing license plates.

Both positions require Missouri Senate confirmation.

 

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