President Donald Trump appointed former Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Dickson Kinder as the alternate federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. DRA had two open chairmen spots after former Co-Chairman Chris Masingill was dismissed by Trump two weeks ago. The alternate is appointed without U.S. Senate approval, but the post formerly held by Masingill must go through the confirmation process, Delta Grassroots Caucus Director Lee Powell told Talk Business & Politics.
It’s not known when Kinder will begin his duties, but he will have the full authority of the co-chairman until one is confirmed.
“This is a major step in getting the DRA back on track,” Powell said. “Kinder is an excellent choice.”
Kinder is a Cape Giradeau native, and his family has lived in the region for at least eight generations. He worked as an attorney for Drury Industries, served as a state senator, and has been a member of the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority.
Former Alternate Federal Co-Chairman and city of Sikeston Economic Development Director Mike Marshall praised the appointment.
“I have known Peter Kinder for many years. He is a statesman who loves southeast Missouri and is going to love the entire Delta region as well. I am confident he will do a great job for the Delta Regional Authority,” Marshall said.
A timetable for nominating a new DRA co-chairman has not been released. The chairman serves at the pleasure of the president. Masingill was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2010.
Delta Grassroots Caucus is a for-profit advocacy organization that supports many improvement projects in the Delta region, Powell said.
The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states, including a large swath of eastern Arkansas. Powell was instrumental in the formulation of the DRA at the end of President Bill Clinton’s administration. It has an annual budget of about $28 million.
To date, the DRA’s SEDAP investments, together with its state and local partners, have leveraged federal resources into nearly $3.5 billion in public and private investment into local small business owners, entrepreneurs, workforce improvement, and infrastructure development projects. DRA investments have helped to create and retain more than 37,000 jobs, train more than 7,300 workers for 21st century jobs, and deliver water and sewer improvements to more than 66,000 residents.
“As a distinguished Republican leader, Mr. Kinder will be able to work effectively with Republicans in the Trump administration and the Republican majority in Congress. He also has a reputation of having worked well with diverse populations and did constructive work after the Ferguson, Missouri racial strife in working with people of both races,” Powell said.