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Vivek Malek sworn in as Missouri Treasurer, promises to 'protect taxpayers’ money'

Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek speaks in the Missouri House Chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, after being sworn into his new position in Jefferson City. Malek is the first person of color to serve in a statewide-elected position. This is his first role in public office.
Sarah Kellogg
/
Statehouse Reporter
Missouri Treasurer Vivek Malek speaks in the Missouri House Chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, after being sworn into his new position in Jefferson City. Malek is the first person of color to serve in a statewide-elected position. This is his first role in public office.

The attorney will become the first person of color to serve in a statewide office. Malek, who was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson, says he intends to run for the position at the end of this term.

All of Missouri’s statewide offices are now occupied after the swearing-in of Vivek Malek as the state’s new Treasurer on Tuesday.

Malek, who has never held public office, becomes the first person of color to serve in a statewide office in Missouri. He will be the 48th person to serve as Treasurer.

Speaking after his swearing-in ceremony, Malek talked about his personal story of emigrating from India to the United States and his experiences living in Missouri.

“As I built a law practice over 15 years, I helped others to become American citizens, pledging loyalty and faith in the United States,” Malek said. “I know what it is to create and run a small business, to make a payroll, to save for rewards down the road, to take care of employees and clients, to work for something bigger than oneself. I owe so much to America and Missouri.”

On what he wants to accomplish as Treasurer, Malek said he wants to focus on three “P’s.”

“First, protect taxpayers’ money to ensure our investments earn the best rate of return for Missourians. Second, provide the opportunity for growth with our programs including: MOST, MoAble, MoScholars, and MoBucks. And third, promote the promise of America,” Malek said.

Malek is the third person in three weeks to begin work as a statewide elected official, following the swearing in of Attorney General Andrew Bailey and Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, the former state Treasurer, won his election for auditor in November. Speaking at Malek’s swearing-in, Fitzpatrick said Malek has the needed characteristics to be Treasurer.

“He's intelligent. He's been very eager to learn. He's conscientious, he's humble. And most importantly, he is a man who really doesn't care who gets the credit. He just wants a good job to be done,” Fitzpatrick said.

Malek has served on the Board of Governors for Southeast Missouri State University since 2020. He said he will no longer be practicing law and will focus instead on being a full-time Treasurer.

Malek is the fifth person Gov. Mike Parson has appointed to a statewide position since taking over as governor in mid-2018. He also appointed Fitzpatrick as Treasurer, both Andrew Bailey and Eric Schmitt as Attorneys General and Mike Kehoe as Lt. Governor.

During his announcements of appointing both Malek and Bailey, Parson emphasized the importance of naming people who would seek to stay in the position.

On Tuesday, Parson said Malek met the requirements he had for the position, including being a man of faith and believing in the state of Missouri and the United States.

“The one thing I knew he would do is he would put Missourians first, before he would himself or anyone else,” Parson said.

Malek’s later swearing-in date means he will be able to run for two full four-year terms after serving the remaining two years of this term.

Copyright 2023 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Kellogg
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