The Missouri House Speaker hopes to make a decision by Friday about who the next House Budget Committee chairman will be.
Governor Mike Parson (R) has appointed Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, as the next State Treasurer.
The governor made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon at a packed Statehouse press conference in Jefferson City, flanked by dozens of Missouri lawmakers. Missourinet talked with House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, after the press conference, and asked him about the position.
“There’s several members of the (House GOP) Caucus that have approached me about being interested, I’m going to meet with each one of them individually,” Haahr says.
The 2019 legislative session begins on January 9 in Jefferson City, and Speaker Haahr tells Missourinet “everything is on the table” now regarding committee structure and chairs.
State Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, is currently the House Budget Committee’s vice-chairman.
Former House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, appointed Smith to that post in July, when State Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, resigned from the House to become Governor Parson’s legislative director. Alferman had been Budget Committee vice chairman.
As for Speaker Haahr, he is praising the governor’s selection of Fitzpatrick as the next State Treasurer. Haahr says the Shell Knob Republican earned the new role.
“Did a fantastic job in the six years in the Legislature and his last two years as the state Budget chair,” says Haahr. “He’s probably the youngest state officeholder in recent Missouri history.”
The 31-year-old Fitzpatrick will resign his House seat in January, and will be sworn-in as Treasurer.
Haahr says the governor could not have picked a better person for treasurer than Fitzpatrick. Speaker Haahr and Fitzpatrick were both first elected to the House in 2012, and Haahr notes they served on the Budget Committee together for the first two years.
He says Fitzpatrick immediately impressed him.
“And I remember the second day of hearings (in January 2013), we showed up, I had forgotten my budget book. Scott showed up with his and was prepared, he started asking questions about lines on page 800 and I realized immediately that my strength was going to be policy and his was going to be the budget,” Haahr says.
Fitzpatrick will replace Eric Schmitt (R) as treasurer. Mr. Schmitt will be the next attorney general, replacing U.S. Senator-Elect Josh Hawley (R). Hawley unseated Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in November.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, which was recorded on December 19, 2018 at the Statehouse in Jefferson City:
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