Governor Nixon creates Office of Community Engagement to communicate with Missourians

The office will focus on developing policies for low-income and minority communities.

Missouri now has an office to facilitate communications with residents to develop policies specific to low-income and minority communities.

Gov. Jay Nixon created this office, the Office of Community Engagement, on Sept. 18.

Nixon said the office will focus on listening, learning and assessing challenges facing minority and low-income communities around the state. The goal is to develop specific policies to address these challenges.

“Across our state, Missouri communities are facing serious issues involving race, educational and economic opportunities, and poverty,” Nixon said in a news release. “The Office of Community Engagement will be responsible for facilitating meaningful communication about these issues that will yield concrete results.”

The office will be located in the Office of Administration. Nixon said it will engage communities, public and private sector leaders, clergy and citizens across the state in communication regarding critical issues. The office will also develop policies and strategies to foster greater prosperity and opportunity for all Missourians.

Nixon named former state Sen. Maida Coleman, a Democrat, as the director of the office. Former St. Louis City Municipal Judge Marvin Teer will serve as the office’s deputy director and general counsel.

“From small towns to big cities, every Missouri community faces its own unique challenges — and that’s especially true in areas where poverty rates are high and economic opportunities are limited,” Coleman said in a news release.

The office will make recommendations to the Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community Service Commission, Missouri Housing Development Commission and other agencies that administer programs designed to assist low-income individuals, urban neighborhoods, community redevelopment and similar activities.

“I am excited about this opportunity to deepen our understanding of the issues confronting our communities and to help develop policies that will help all Missourians prosper and thrive,” Coleman said.

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