Missouri’s 39th state auditor has been sworn into office today. Republican Scott Fitzpatrick takes over the position after Missouri voters elected him last November.
He previously served as state treasurer and Missouri House Budget Committee chairman.
“Today is the start of a new chapter and I am ready for the task at hand,” he said at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony. “I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to see the good, the bad and the ugly at every level of government during my two decades in the private sector as a business owner, the last decade of which has been coupled with my work in state government as a legislator and a state treasurer.”
He replaces Democrat Nicole Galloway, who chose not to seek re-election.
As he blasted student achievement scores and public education funding, Fitzpatrick said auditing Missouri’s K-12 public schools will be one of his top priorities.
“Providing an education for the next generation of Missourians is our most important job. For that reason, we have to ensure the billions of dollars we send our schools each year are being spent effectively and are being used to prepare kids for the workforce or for higher education,” he said. “Parents and taxpayers deserve to know how their money is being spent by their schools and that their kids are being provided an appropriate education.”
Missouri schools already undergo external audits.
Fitzpatrick said his office’s staff size is at a historically low level and he plans to recruit new auditors to his office to take on an audit of schools.
Fitzpatrick went on to criticize the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic.
“The response to covid has resulted in the most significant increases in government spending in our lifetime. Many billions of dollars of these COVID funds have been funneled through state and local governments,” he said. “This explosion of spending at all levels of government has made it easier and more likely than ever before for taxpayer money to be wasted, misappropriated and even stolen.”
According to the 35-year-old Fitzpatrick, he is the youngest statewide officeholder in America.
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