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Thursday, May 3, 2007


In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that forced the ouster of former Department of Agriculture Director Fred Ferrell, Gov. Matt Blunt on May 2 named a politically connected Platte City woman to lead the agency. Katie Smith, 29, recently served as a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy and previously worked for Republican U.S. Sens. Kit Bond and Jim Talent. If confirmed by the Missouri Senate, Smith will be the first woman to lead the department in its 74-year history.

Ferrell, 66, was forced to resign in February after sexual harassment allegations against him became public, exposing a nine-month cover up of the matter by the Blunt administration. Witnesses said Ferrell made comments and engaged in conduct demeaning to women, including saying that women shouldn’t supervise men and telling an employee he wanted to see her in a wet t-shirt contest.

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