JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Gov. Mike Parson has appointed the state’s chief financial officer to take over as the next attorney general, filling the position soon-to-be vacated by Missouri’s new U.S. Senator-elect.
On Tuesday, Parson announced that Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt will serve the rest of Josh Hawley’s term as the chief law enforcement officer. The position was opened up when Hawley was elected on November 6, 2018, to represent Missouri in the U.S. Senate, replacing Democrat-Sen. Claire McCaskill.
“It is an incredible honor to be named the lawyer for 6 million Missourians, and I promise to fight each and every day so that the next generation of Missourians have the same opportunities I’ve enjoyed in the greatest country on earth. I believe everyone is granted the right to be treated equally under the law. No matter who you are, what race or religion you are, your background, your creed – every single person is entitled to equality of opportunity and a fair shake under the law,” said Schmitt.
Hawley will resign from the Office of Attorney General effective January 3, 2019.
“The Attorney General’s job is to fight for Missouri families regardless of how big or powerful the opponent may be, and I know Eric Schmitt will continue this important work. He is a constitutional conservative and has a proven record of standing up for taxpayers in the Treasurer’s office. I applaud his willingness and commitment to fight for Missourians as the next Attorney General,” said Hawley.
With Schmitt moving to the Attorney General’s Office, it will be up to Parson to appoint his replacement in the Treasurer’s Office.
Schmitt grew up in a middle-class household and was the first person in his family to go to college right out of high school. He graduated cum laude from Truman State University in Kirksville.
He earned a scholarship to attend law school at St. Louis University, where he became the first person in his family to graduate from law school. Schmitt was admitted to the Missouri bar in 2000.
He was a partner at the firm Lathrop & Gage, LLP, in Clayton, Missouri, where he focused on land use, real estate, business disputes, and administrative appeals.
In his community, he has been an active member for the boards of DeSmet Jesuit High School, Nurses for Newborns Foundation, St. Louis Crisis Nursery, and a Parents as Teachers Program.
He had previously been elected chairman of the Young Lawyer Section Council of the Missouri Bar, led a statewide Giving Tree effort to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and created a Special Needs Advocacy Task Force. He has also been involved with the TS (Tuberous Sclerosis) Alliance, the Gateway Chapter of the Autism Society of America, Habitat for Humanity, and local Chambers of Commerce.
Schmitt served as an alderman for Glendale, Missouri, from 2005 to 2008. Following that he served two terms in the state Senate.
When sworn in, Schmitt became one of the youngest members ever to serve in the state’s upper chamber. He represented Missouri’s 15th State Senate district, which includes parts of central and western St. Louis County. He served in Senate Leadership as Majority Caucus Chairman.
Schmitt was elected as Treasurer during the 2016 general election. That post will now be filled through appointment by Parson.
“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,” said Parson.
As Treasurer, he developed Missouri Economic Dashboard which shows economic data and trends, he launched Missouri ABLE which allows those with disabilities to save money and receive need-based assistance, he administers MOST 529 which is a tax-advantaged program that empowers Missouri families to save for a child’s K-12 tuition, and he launched the Show-Me Checkbook website which tracks how the state is spending money.
“Missourians will be well served by Eric Schmitt as their next attorney general. We commend Governor Mike Parson for choosing an attorney general who will be truly dedicated to the rule of law,” said Republican Attorneys General Association Chairman Ken Paxton. “Eric Schmitt is a respected public servant with the experience and record of achievement to be an effective attorney general for all Missourians.”