JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced his candidacy on Thursday for the 2022 Auditor’s race and sat down with The Heartlander to discuss.
“My family and I have committed to continuing to serve because we still believe that this important work matters,” Fitzpatrick said. “It matters to Missourians who want to know their hard earned tax dollars are being used wisely.”
Fitzpatrick was first elected as a State Representative in 2012 when he realized that most of the problems he encountered as a small business owner were caused by the government.
“The reason I got into politics in the first place was because as a small business owner, I was frustrated with the way bureaucracy worked and how the government was spending our money,” he told The Heartlander.
After being elected to office with a heavy focus on government spending, Fitzpatrick was eventually named budget chair. His budget-focused approach to working in the legislature paid off again in December 2018 when he was appointed to be Missouri’s Treasurer by Gov. Mike Parson.
Fitzpatrick ran a successful statewide campaign in November 2020 to retain his position, and hopes to use his past experience as a business owner, legislator and State Treasurer to improve the way Missouri’s government operates.
“My experience has given me a lens into the operation of state government both on the legislative side of things as well as the executive branch side of things,” he said. “It has given me exposure to all the programs the state runs and what the processes are.”
“The Auditor’s office is a place where you can really dig into the meat of state government and look at the programs the state is running and try to figure out how to make government work better.”
Fitzpatrick believes the Auditor’s office has been used inappropriately in the past as a tool to target political enemies. As an advocate for government transparency, he called the political targeting “unacceptable” and vows to be fair, honest and objective in his work as auditor if he’s elected.
“For a long time, I think the Auditor’s office has been used unfortunately as a weapon to target political opponents for individual gain,” he said. “The Auditor’s office should be more about working as part of a team to improve our government. That means sitting down with agencies and officials and trying to fix the problems in a cooperative way as opposed to holding a press conference to talk about how bad they are.”
“I’m going to do the job with integrity – let the audits go where the facts are. Whether it’s the outcome you want it to be or not, you just have to live with that,” he later said.
As Treasurer, Fitzpatrick received an ‘Excellent’ rating from Democrat Auditor Nicole Galloway in 2019, the highest available rating for the Treasurer’s office. He was also the fastest Treasurer in Missouri history to return $1 million in unclaimed property to Missourians and, according to his campaign, has returned over $100 million in unclaimed property to date.
“The combination of the experience I have from the private sector as well as my time spent in state government brings a lot of value to the role I can play as State Auditor,” he said.
Missouri is a heavily conservative state that former President Trump won by over 15 points. However, the Show-Me state has only had one Republican auditor since 1999. Because of this, Fitzpatrick issued a call to action to Republican voters and mentioned his proven record of successfully running statewide.
“We had an opportunity to take this office back in 2018 and we lost,” he said. “We need to make sure we don’t do that again. We’ve shown that even in a red state, we can lose a statewide office if we don’t handle ourselves right.”
“I’ve got experience running statewide and I’ve won a statewide election. I think putting somebody experienced up on the ballot to make sure we take this office back for Republicans is something we should be looking really hard at as a party.”
Fitzpatrick promises to rely on his business and budget experience to “root out waste, fraud and abuse while holding bureaucrats and politicians accountable for how they spend our money,” as noted in his announcement video.
Fitzpatrick is the lone candidate for the race as current Auditor Democrat Nicole Galloway announced she would not be running for reelection earlier this year. However, there is still over a year until the primary election so Missourians can expect more challengers to jump in.