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Jefferson City, MO

Blunt Taps Woman to Lead Agriculture Department

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - A 29-year-old woman is Governor Blunt's choice to lead the state agriculture department.

Blunt named Katie Smith of Platte City the new director.  Former director Fred Ferrell was forced to resign after an employee accused him of sexual harassment and refusing to promote her because she's a woman.

Smith most recently worked in the federal Energy Department.  She also has worked for Republican Senators Kit Bond and Jim Talent.  She grew up on a Platte County farm that raised corn, soybeans, tobacco and cattle.

If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman to head the state Agriculture Department.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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