by: Brian Hauswirth, Missouri Net
A three-term Missouri House member was sworn-in as the 47th state treasurer during a Monday ceremony at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.
Shell Knob Republican Scott Fitzpatrick, who’s been serving as the House Budget Committee Chairman, delivered brief remarks after he was sworn-in by Barry County Judge Johnnie Cox. Fitzpatrick emphasizes the importance of making strong decisions, planning and responsibility.
“And that’s how I view the role of state treasurer,” Fitzpatrick told the audience. “A protector of state funds so Missouri schools can continue to be fully funded, Missouri businesses can continue to grow and Missouri families can continue to prosper.”
The audience included Republicans Governor Mike Parson, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz and House Speaker Elijah Haahr. Democrats attending include State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh and numerous other lawmakers from both chambers and parties.
Fitzpatrick says he’s humbled and honored about his new opportunity. Fitzpatrick, who helped to build boat dock manufacturer MariCorp US into a multi-million dollar enterprise, says government must work for the people.
“I witnessed our government standing in the way of my ability (at Maricorp US) to keep people working due to the inability or unwillingness of bureaucrats to sign off on permits,” says Fitzpatrick.
During his remarks, Fitzpatrick also emphasized fiscal restraint and support for small business.
Governor Parson announced the Fitzpatrick appointment during a December 19th press conference at the Capitol. Fitzpatrick replaces Schmitt, who was appointed attorney general to replace Republican Josh Hawley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.
The state treasurer serves as Missouri’s chief financial officer and safeguards more than $988 million in unclaimed property.
Fitzpatrick tells Missourinet his resignation from the House took effect Monday afternoon at 3:30.
Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, is praising the governor’s selection of Fitzpatrick as treasurer. Wiemann tells Missourinet that Parson made an outstanding choice.
“I served with Scott for four years (in the House), had an opportunity to see him first-hand, his leadership, his abilities,” Wiemann says. “He’s certainly a young man but he’s very accomplished, even at his young age.”
Fitzpatrick is 31 years old. The governor says Fitzpatrick has more experience and knowledge of the state budget than any other elected official.
Former Republican State Treasurers Wendell Bailey and Sarah Steelman also attended the ceremony.