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Grace Nichols

Grace Nichols

ST. CHARLES • Former St. Charles Mayor Grace Nichols is the new chairwoman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission.

The board, one of the most important in state government, oversees the Missouri Department of Transporation.

Road building and maintenance is of special importance to residents - and elected officials - in Nichols' home base in rapidly growing St. Charles County.

The commission on Wednesday picked Nichols to chair the panel for the next year. Nichols, a Democrat, was appointed to the commission by GOP Gov. Matt Blunt in 2008.

Nichols was mayor from 1987 to 1995 and tried unsuccessfully in the 2007 election to win back her old job.  She also is a former circuit judge.