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Holden taps four department heads

March 01, 2001
By: Matt Williams
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Mixing experience with outside leadership, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden nominated four cabinet members Thursday, bringing in two newcomers while keeping two officials from previous administrations.

Holden tapped Kathy Martin to lead the Department of Social Services and Scott Lakin, a former state representative, to head the Department of Insurance. Steve Mahfood of the Department of Natural Resources and Catherine Leapheart of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations will remain from previous administrations.

Holden praised the nominees' experience, saying they were selected after a national search.

"Our state is fortunate that these leaders have pledged to dedicate their efforts to serve the citizens of Missouri," Holden told reporters. "They're all committed to being a team to get results."

Holden has yet to fill four cabinet posts, though he said there was no rush to fill them.

"I don't feel like I'm on any time line that has to be done by a certain date," Holden said.

Martin headed the budget office at Social Services and directed Prevent Child Abuse-Missouri. Lakin, a one-time insurance agent, was elected to the House in 1992.

Mahfood was appointed director of the Department of Natural Resources in 1998. Leapheart has served at Labor since last May.

Martin said her main priority would be to reform the structure of the Social Services department.

"We've had a lot of programs that have changed over time," Martin said. "There's a lot of additional programs, some of them have piggybacked on other programs, and I think we really need to take a look at that and make sure they're the best that they can be."