JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s appointed treasurer formally announced Monday he will seek a full, four-year term when voters go to the polls next year.
Republican Scott Fitzpatrick, a former lawmaker from Cassville, was to be joined at a campaign kick-off in his hometown Monday by the man who appointed him, Gov. Mike Parson, and the rest of the statewide GOP ticket.
Barring other entrants into the race, Fitzpatrick likely will face off in the November general election against former state Rep. Vicki Englund, a Democrat who represented a swath of south St. Louis County for four years.
Fitzpatrick, who was chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee before being named to the post, said the financial focus of the treasurer’s office fits his personality and his background as a small business owner.
“It’s a wonky office, but it’s one that I enjoy quite a bit,” Fitzpatrick said. “It fits my skill set.”
Fitzpatrick, 32, was part of a massive shake-up of state government last year when former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned and then-Attorney General Josh Hawley became a U.S. senator.
With Parson moving into the Governor’s Mansion, he then appointed Mike Kehoe, a senator, to be lieutenant governor. Parson then named then-Treasurer Eric Schmitt to the vacant attorney general position, paving the way for Fitzpatrick’s elevation to the treasurer post.
He was elected to the House at age 25 and worked to balance the budget, boost the state’s surplus and lower income tax rates “to make Missouri more competitive.”
Among the more high-profile duties of the treasurer is returning unclaimed property. Since January, the office has returned nearly $40 million in unclaimed property and initiated a system for diverting unclaimed property to families that are owed child support.
“We broke the record this year on the amount of unclaimed property that was returned,” Fitzpatrick said.
The treasurer also oversees the state’s $4 billion investment portfolio and manages the state’s education savings plan.
He said he hopes to work with the Republican-controlled Legislature to expand the state’s education savings plan to allow low-income families to use their savings like a tuition voucher, allowing children to move into other K-12 school districts.
“We are already one of the best, but I think we can be better,” he said.
Englund represented House District 85 from 2009 to 2011 and District 94 from 2013 to 2015. She lost to the late Rep. Cloria Brown in 2016 by less than 400 votes.
Englund, 45, most recently has been a lobbyist for a company that promotes the use of tax incentives to make homes more energy efficient. She is a south St. Louis County native, a graduate of Lindbergh High School and of American University in Washington, D.C. She also served on the Lindbergh School Board.
Fitzpatrick enters the race with a major advantage in fundraising. His most recent campaign finance report shows him with nearly $242,000, compared to Englund’s $4,600.