The Missouri Senate has finally confirmed Governor Nixon’s nominee to head the state’s economic development efforts.
Wentzville Senator Scott Rupp had held up the vote, demanding information about her position on prosecuting illegal immigrants who work or live in Missouri. He has accused Governor Nixon’s staff of threatening to punish his county if he did not drop his questioning of Martinez’s credentials.
Rupp told the Senate, "I never had any issue with her qualifications or with her as a person. I found her a very pleasant person when we had our meeting….but I still had questions that needed to have answers. I believe Miss Martinez would have provided me those answers if not being instructed not to do so by the Governor. Instead he sent his henchmen to my office in an attempt to intimidate me."
He says the Governor’s office also called officials in St. Charles County and threatened to punish the county if Rupp did not be quiet.
Rupp has told fellow Senators he was left with a choice of voting "no" to punish Nixon for his attitude, or voting to support an intelligent, successful business leader. Rupp’s voice was one of three "no" votes when the rest of the Senate voted loudly to confirm the appointment.
One of the Senators who voted in favor of confirmation says Martinez will be watched closely on this issue because of questions raised by Rupp.
A spokesman for the Governor has denied Rupp’s claims that Nixon’s staff tried to intimidate him and threatened to limit state funding in his home county.