Republican state Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) ended months of speculation about his political future Wednesday by declaring his candidacy for the State Treasurer’s office in the 2016 campaign cycle.
Schmitt has helped author the major tax cut proposals of the last two legislative sessions, both of which were vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon (D), with the latter of the two vetoes having been overturned. He knows if he becomes the Republican nominee for Treasurer in 2016, those tax cut bills are likely to be focused on by any Democratic opponent. He says he welcomes that debate.
“I hope that this campaign is about issues like reforming our tax code, and again I’m proud of the leadership role that I’ve been able to have in that debate,” says Schmitt. “I think any time we can allow people to keep more of what they earn, people to have more take home pay, that means a lot for families all across this state.”
Schmitt as Treasurer he can draw on his time as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government.
“In that office I think you are uniquely positioned to make sure that people are aware of what that growth strategy is, what it should be for our state, and I’m looking forward to that,” says Schmitt.
Schmitt, a lawyer, cannot seek another term in the Senate. He had been considered a likely candidate for attorney general.
Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) has already declared his candidacy for Attorney General and House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) has also been considering running for that office. Schmitt says they didn’t factor in his decision not to join that race.
“The treasurer’s office is a natural … there’s alignment there with some of the things I’ve spent a lot of time on and policies I’ve advocated for, so for me that was the office that made sense,” says Schmitt.
One of his priorities during his time in the legislature has been finding ways to help patients and families deal with autism. Schmitt has an autistic son, and says that will remain a priority to him if he is elected Treasurer.
“I empathise and I want to do everything I can in that office to make programs available for folks,” says Schmitt. “One of the things I think I can also bring to that job is I have a good working relationship with both Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate, and so to the extent there are priorities that we need to get passed I feel confident working with the legislature to try to move those priorities through.”
At the end of April, Schmitt had more than $866,000 in his campaign account.
AUDIO: Mike Lear interviews Senator Eric Schmitt, 10:22