Gov. Mike Parson selected House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick to be state treasurer.
The 31-year-old Barry County Republican will succeed Eric Schmitt, who Parson selected to be Attorney General. It’s the third statewide vacancy that Parson has filled since taking office on June 1.
Fitzpatrick has been the leader of the powerful Budget Committee since 2015, playing a key role in shaping how the state spends money every year. He started a dock-repair business while he was in high school, a company that grew dramatically while he was in college. After state Rep. David Sater termed out of the Missouri House, Fitzpatrick prevailed in a contested Republican primary for his seat, the real contest in the heavily Republican district.
Fitzpatrick believes this office combines his interest in finance with public service. “Anyone who knows me knows that I am a passionate advocate for government transparency and reforming government in ways that improve the lives of the people of the state,” Fitzpatrick said during his introductory news conference at the capitol Wednesday.
“When I was in college, I would spend free time looking at the financial statements for publicly traded companies. It was just something that really interested me. And so, having the opportunity to serve as State Treasurer, it’s not just another political office for me. It’s something I think I’m really going to look forward to doing and I will enjoy,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick, who was born in 1987, joins the ranks of Missouri's millennial statewide officeholders. State Auditor Nicole Galloway was born in 1982; former Secretary of State Jason Kander was born in 1981; and Senator-elect Josh Hawley was born on Dec. 31, 1979. (There's some debate over what constitutes a millennial. Pew Research defines it as anyone born between 1981 and 1996.)
Parson added in his prepared remarks that he “is a firm believer in appointing the right individuals for the right job.”
“While we may not have always agreed on every issue, it was important to me that we appoint the most fully qualified candidate to steward the people’s money,” Parson said. “There is no doubt in my mind, that on day one as state treasurer, Missourians will have a fully qualified, ready-to-lead fiscal conservative managing the treasurer’s office.”
Indeed, Parson clashed early in his term with Fitzpatrick over some budgetary vetoes. And Fitzpatrick engineered a freeze of a low-income-housing tax-credit program in the House Budget Committee, an incentive that Parson has traditionally supported.
After appointing Schmitt as attorney general and Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor, there had been some speculation that Parson would choose a woman as treasurer. And some African-American officials wanted Parson to pick state Rep. Shamed Dogan, the Missouri House’s lone black Republican.
But in an interview last week with St. Louis Public Radio, Parson made it clear that, “At the end of the day, you’ve also got to figure out who is the most-qualified person for the job.”
“And look, we want to make sure — regardless of what the race is, or regardless if it’s a female or male — are they qualified to do the job, and can they handle the position?” Parson said. “And that’s one of the things we’ve looked at. When we picked the school board members, that’s the way we looked at it: 'Who has the best resume out there?'”
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