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House budget chairman appointed as next Missouri treasurer

Posted: 3:15 PM, Dec 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-19 21:15:07Z
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday that he is appointing the chairman of the House Budget Committee to serve as the next state treasurer, adding another link to a chain-reaction of office shuffling among Missouri's top elected officials.

Republican Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick will succeed Republican Treasurer Eric Schmitt when Schmitt takes over for Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Hawley is leaving office in January — two years ahead of the end of his term — because he won election to the U.S. Senate in November by defeating Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

The appointment of Fitzpatrick to fill the remaining two years of Schmitt's term as treasurer will necessitate even more changes.

Parson will be responsible for calling a special election to fill Fitzpatrick's 158th House District in southwest Missouri. The House speaker will be responsible for selecting a new budget committee chairman.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Parson said he wanted the next treasurer to have a business background with knowledge in finance. The treasurer manages the state's revenues and oversees its investment portfolio.

"Scott has built his career, as a small business owner and legislator, with a proven track record of being a wise steward and protector of the people's money," Parson said Wednesday in a statement announcing the appointment.

Fitzpatrick, 31, of Cassville, is CEO of MariCorp U.S., which bills itself as one of the nation's largest manufacturing and construction firms specializing in floating boat docks.

The company's website says it was founded by Fitzpatrick as a marine repair firm in 2003, while Fitzpatrick was still a teenager. He graduated from high school in 2006 and from the University of Missouri in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Fitzpatrick first won election to the House in 2012 and was unopposed for re-election this year. He led the House budget committee the past two years.

Missouri has seen an unusually large turnover in its top offices this year.

Parson, who was elected as lieutenant governor in 2016, took over as governor June 1 after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens resigned. Greitens had been facing potential impeachment proceedings in the House over allegations of sexual and political misconduct.

A couple of weeks later, Parson appointed Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, a Jefferson City Republican, to take over as lieutenant governor. Parson's authority to do so is being challenged in a lawsuit that's pending before the state Supreme Court.

Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson left office Nov. 1, a couple of months before his term was scheduled to end. Richardson accepted a position within Parson's administration as director of the state's Medicaid health care program. House Republicans tapped Rep. Elijah Haahr as the next speaker, though that still must be approved by the full chamber when the legislative session begins Jan. 9.

Come January, Republican Attorney General Jay Ashcroft and Democratic Auditor Nicole Galloway will be the only two statewide executive officials serving in offices to which they were elected. Galloway won election in November, though she originally was appointed to the office in 2015 following the suicide of Republican Auditor Tom Schweich.