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January 10, 2014

Missouri legislative black caucus chairman resigns

The Democratic chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said Friday she decided to step down because of tension in the group about her appearance with the state's Republican lieutenant governor.

The Democratic chairman of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said Friday she decided to step down because of tension in the group about her appearance with the state's Republican lieutenant governor.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, of St. Louis, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder spoke together at a news conference in December.

The two were denouncing an informal deal to delay about $14 million in low-income housing tax credits to secure the Legislature's passage of a $1.7 billion incentive package for Boeing.

"If anyone is willing to stand up on behalf of the indigent and the poor, then I will stand by you, side by side," Nasheed said about appearing with Kinder.

Kinder was the only member of the state commission responsible for authorizing the credits to vote against the delay, which will last at least until March 13. The delay in tax credits awarded to low-income housing developers affects 32 developments that would have housed 1,654 units.

Nasheed said she resigned so the caucus could be unified this year in opposing Republican priorities, such as requiring photo identification at polling places and legislation to bar the payment of union fees as a condition of employment.

The caucus's vice-chairman, Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, will take over her duties until the 16-member group elects a successor, Nasheed said.

Ellington declined to comment on his status with the caucus or Nasheed's resignation.

Nasheed became chairman of the caucus in 2013 following her election to the state Senate. She previously served six years in the House.

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