Gov. Mike Parson this morning appointed Eric Schmitt as the state’s next attorney general.
Schmitt, who currently serves as Missouri’s treasurer, will take the office after current Attorney General Josh Hawley resigns on Jan. 3, 2019. Hawley was elected during last week’s midterm victory over Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
“It was important to appoint someone who has already been thoroughly vetted by the people of Missouri. Eric is someone who I highly respect, personally trust and have full confidence to serve as Missouri’s chief law enforcement officer,” Parson said at a news conference from the Missouri Capitol live-streamed by several media outlets.
Schmitt has served as state treasurer since January 2017. He attended law school at Saint Louis University.
“I have always loved the law; it’s the firewall for justice,” Schmitt said during the news conference. “I believe everyone is granted the right to be treated equally under the law. As the lawyer for 6 million Missourians … I am going to fight for them to make sure they are treated fairly.”
Schmitt’s family stood by him as he gave his acceptance speech. He credits his 15-year-old son Stephen as the reason he went into public service. Stephen is nonverbal, has epilepsy, is on the autism spectrum and was born with a rare genetic condition causing tumors on his organs, according to the state treasurer’s website.
Before his election as state treasurer, Schmitt served as an alderman for Glendale, Missouri, and had two terms in the Missouri Senate. He focused on cutting taxes, improving education and advocating for those with special needs, according to a news release from the governor’s office.
“It’s not lost on me the responsibility this office brings, but I’m up for the challenge,” he said.
During the news conference, Parson said he was proud of Hawley’s win during the midterms.
“Last Tuesday’s elections proved to be a great win for Missouri and America,” he said. “Josh was a quality attorney general for our state, and Missourians clearly believed that our state and our country would be better off with Josh representing us as our United States Senator.”
Hawley defeated the incumbent McCaskill by 6 percentage points statewide. In Greene County, Hawley carried 55 percent of the vote, with McCaskill capturing 41 percent of the vote, according to the county clerk’s office.
Parson said he will announce at a later date who will fill Schmitt’s role as treasurer.
Atlanta-based Chicken Salad Chick made its Springfield debut; husband and wife Garrett and Rose Cochran opened Heirloom Candle Bar; and mobile eatery Girldad BBQ LLC was launched.