Candidate Conversations: Scott Fitzpatrick
Scott Fitzpatrick is the current Missouri state treasurer. He's running for state auditor against Democrat Alan Green and Libertarian John Hartwig Jr.
Samir Knox: How did you first enter politics and get involved with politics?
Scott Fitzpatrick: I was just really frustrated as a small business owner with the government and the experiences that I was having trying to deal with the government through a recession in particular, to try to keep my employees paid and keep work flowing. And it really made me start paying attention to politics. And it's when I realized that it's really important who's in public office and who's in charge of the government when I was having that experience. And so I decided to run for the House of Representatives when I was 24. And yeah, it was 2012. It was shortly after I graduated from Mizzou, I was back home running my business and my state representative was termed out. So I ran for office and won and got involved in politics that way.
Samir Knox: Yeah. And and after that you were appointed to be the treasurer, correct?
Scott Fitzpatrick: Yep. So I was in the house for six years and had an opportunity to become the treasurer after the big shake up in 2018, where Josh Hawley ran for the Senate, he vacated the Attorney General's office, and the Governor appointed Eric Schmitt to be the Attorney General. Eric was the state treasurer at the time. And then the governor appointed me to be the state treasurer. So I was appointed to it and then elected in 2020 statewide to the treasurer's office to retain that seat. And so that's kind of the history at least up to now.
Samir Knox: Yeah. And now to kind of bring it up to the the election coming up. What made you decide to run for state auditor?
Scott Fitzpatrick: I think it's really important right now, in particular that we have an auditor that has some experience with the state budgeting process is really important right now, because we have a tremendous amount of money that's going to be spent over the next couple of years with all of the COVID funds that are coming in to the state and to the local governments in the state. When I got to the legislature in 2013, the budget was $24 billion. When I left the legislature six years later, it was $28 billion. And this year, the budget that was passed was $49 billion. So when you look at that growth over six years of $4 billion, versus the growth over the next four years being $21 billion. It's a really, I think, eye opening statistic that will indicates that there's going to be a lot of money being spent.
Samir Knox: What do you think you can do as auditor that you can as treasurer that made you want to run for that office?
Scott Fitzpatrick: But I want to start by saying I've really enjoyed the job of treasurer I would say. I've even enjoyed it more than I expected to and I will miss it. If I'm elected auditor, I'll miss that job. But the auditor's office has the opportunity to really go into any part of state and local government look at how the money is being spent. Look at how programs are being run, if they're being run efficiently, if programs that the government has created are having the intended impact or the impact that was promised by the people who supported it when they pass it into law or created the program and the treasurer is kind of has a more guardrails on it you know, you have specific duties and and a specific role you perform. And while I've really enjoyed that role, I do think that had the opportunity to be auditor will serve my skill set and my background and kind of the passion that I have to make government as efficient as possible, and to make it work for taxpayers as much as possible.
CORRECTION: The audio version of this story originally reported that Scott Fitzpatrick was the current state auditor running for re-election. The audio has been corrected. We apologize for the error.