Former GOP leader to serve on University of Missouri System Board of Curators

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The former head of the Missouri Republican Party will be the newest member of the University of Missouri System Board of Curators.

After nearly nine hours of debate and filibuster the Senate approved Gov. Mike Parson‘s nomination of Todd Graves just before 1:30 am Wednesday. Senators tried to approve the appointment last Thursday, but after hours of debate, pushed it off until Tuesday.

Four Republicans joined nine Democrats to vote against the appointment. St. Louis area Sen. Brian Williams was the only Democrat to vote in favor of Graves.

Graves served as general counsel for former Gov. Eric Greitens and was a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. He will replace former Sen. Phillip Snowden whose term expired at the beginning of the year.

“I wish we had more time; I might get there but, in the rush, to get this done, it makes it harder for me to want to make that recommendation,” Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, said.

Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, held for floor for hour Thursday and Tuesday, concerned about what Graves political past would do to the board.

“One of things that Dr. Choi has been successful at is taking that away from the University, taking the politics out and let’s focus on what the university does really well,” Razer said. “The University being the system and I can’t think of a way to inject politics back into the system more then to put a form political part chair on a nine-member board of curators.”

Senate Minority Floor Leader John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, said this nomination made him feel leery.

“It’s been a lightning rod, a non-partisan lightning rod,” Rizzo said. “There have been people as we saw the other day on the other side of the aisle that feel similar.”

Graves currently is a partner at Graves Garrett LLC law firm in Kansas City. His term limit on the UM Board of Curators is six years. The board oversees campuses in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Rolla.

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