The race for Missouri state treasurer is flying under the radar this year. The campaign is being largely overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and a pair of hotly contested races for president and governor.
Republican Scott Fitzpatrick, a former state lawmaker from southwest Missouri, was appointed to the post by Gov. Mike Parson in the wake of former Gov. Eric Greitens’ resignation that sparked a shuffling of Missouri’s statewide officeholders. Fitzpatrick faces off against former state representative Vicki Lorenz Englund, who represented south St. Louis County.
Fitzpatrick touts on his campaign website that he was the “fastest treasurer in state history to return $1 million in unclaimed property” to Missourians. We give him praise for that accomplishment and for the $45 million that he has returned during his tenure, but it is the accomplishments of his Democratic opponent that really garnered our attention.
In 2013, as a first-year legislator, Lorenz Englund sponsored legislation that returned more than 100 military medals — including Purple Hearts and others — that had been long-held in a state vault to the original owners or the family members of those veterans.
Lorenz Englund, who partnered with former State Treasurer Clint Zweifel to champion this legislation, said she first learned of the collection of unreturned military medals after being handed a “packet of hundreds and hundreds of names” from her legislative district who were owed property, including money, medals and other items from the state.
We contend that Missourians deserve a state treasurer who will go the extra mile to return unclaimed property to them. Lorenz Englund has demonstrated her ability to dig into the details and deliver results for the people of our state.
Yet, Lorenz Englund, who after leaving the state house founded a home-based e-commerce business, is far from a one-issue candidate.
She has used her digital platform to promote more than 100 real-world solutions that she would implement to help Missouri’s small-business owners hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As she crisscrossed the state on the campaign trail, Lorenz Englund also promoted the expansion of Medicaid, which voters approved in August despite efforts by Fitzpatrick and other statewide Republicans to convince voters to reject the proposal.
“If you are a Missourian who voted to expand Medicaid, then you need to know that the Treasurer’s Office is responsible for requesting the reimbursement from the federal government. I’ve already said how I would do that, but my opponent has only flown across the state telling people to vote no on Medicaid expansion,” Lorenz Englund told The Missourian’s editorial board.
Yet, it is not Fitzpatrick’s opposition to Medicaid expansion that gives us the greatest pause. It is his support for two pieces of legislation that allowed more foreign ownership of agricultural property in Missouri.
This bill, which Lorenz Englund opposed, has hurt Missouri’s family farms and enabled Chinese-owned companies to gobble up Missouri’s most precious natural resources — our farmland.
Today, nearly 300,000 acres of Missouri farmland is owned by foreign corporations.
In her interview and throughout the campaign, Lorenz Englund has said as state treasurer she will ensure that no state dollars are invested or loaned to companies on foreign-owned agricultural land.
“We need to support local farmers, not corporate entities from the other side of the planet,” Lorenz Englund said.
We acknowledge that there will be many voting straight-ticket this November, but before voters go into the ballot box they should take a long, hard look at the voting records of both Fitzpatrick and Lorenz Englund.
Voters should return Lorenz Englund to Jefferson City to serve as the next State Treasurer.
Editor’s Note: At the time of the publication, The Missourian had not heard back from the Fitzpatrick campaign regarding a possible meeting with the newspaper’s editorial board. Since the publication of this endorsement, The Missourian has received correspondence from the Fitzpatrick campaign. Due to technical issues, emails sent by The Missourian to the Fitzpatrick campaign and to the Missouri Republican Party’s communications department were not received.