JEFFERSON CITY - Governor-elect Matt Blunt has selected his former Sunday school teacher, Ken McClure, to be his chief of staff.
"I'm very pleased that Ken McClure has agreed to continue assisting me in this effort", Blunt told a room of reporters in the secretary of state's office on Tuesday.
Asked if he still served as Blunt's mentor, McClure said it now was usually the other way around.
"He's very knowledgeable, very studious, very much aware of what's going on," McClure said. "We have a very good relationship where we can sit down and talk, share concepts, share ideas."
McClure, who served as Blunt's transition team director to the governor's office, is a longtime family friend. The two met in Jefferson City when U.S. Congressman Roy Blunt was secretary of state in the late 1980s.
McClure's younger brother Rich McClure was chief of staff in the Ashcroft administration from 1985 to 1992. Rich McClure is now president of UniGroup Inc., the parent company of United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit.
McClure said he is close to his younger brother and both have advised each other throughout their lives.
As for the job of chief of staff, McClure said one of the most difficult aspects will be juggling all the job's demands. Rich McClure had some advice for his older brother.
"My brother has advised me on a couple of things, one is to juggle the balls in the air and make sure you keep focus on what is the priority of the moment and don't let the balls drop," McClure said.
McClure, 54, began his political career when the governor-elect was just a toddler. He worked for the state of Missouri for 23 years from 1974 to 1997.
"Coming back to state government was never an intent of mine," McClure said. "But over the past several months you start focusing on what is important and public service is very important to me."
The decision to return to state government after more than seven years wasn't an easy one, McClure said. But when the governor-elect asked it was difficult to say no.
"Opportunities like this are very few and far between," McClure said. "An opportunity to have a meaningful impact certainly weighs very heavily on this decision."
Governor-elect Blunt has been talking about making some structural changes that he said will place even greater demands on his chief of staff.
"It would be a demanding job at any time and under any circumstances and certainly in the next four years it will be a demanding task given everything we want to accomplish," Blunt said.
McClure was working with the legislature when Blunt's father was in the state House -- the same time as the last major reorganization in 1974.
When McClure was named Blunt's transition team director in early November of this year, McClure said he brought some institutional memory to process.
"I bring some needed history and experience that is difficult to find simply because it's been 30 years," said McClure at the time.
From 1981 to early 1990 McClure was deputy director for the administration for the Economic Development Department.
In 1990, McClure was appointed to the utility-regulating Public Service Commission by then Gov. John Ashcroft and later appointed by Ashcroft as the commission's chairman.
The position will pay $112,000 annually, "significantly less," McClure said than his salary as the associate manager for administration for city utilities in Springfield where he has worked since 1997.
Blunt also announced his plans to make Missouri's Department of Homeland Security a division of Missouri's Department of Public Safety and have them answer to one director.
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