Jeff Mazur of LaunchCode; Joe Lakin of Victory Enterprises; Joe Patterson with the St. Louis County Police Officers; and Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, appeared on the opinion maker panel of This Week in Missouri Politics April 2 to voice their thoughts on pressing matters within state government such as current local elections, a tax proposal to help fund law enforcement and the statewide budget.
That last topic dominated much of the conversation, and everyone on the panel agreed Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick has proven himself as a leader in his position in the past week. When speaking on the topic of funding for K-12 education, Mazur complimented Fitzpatrick’s work in helping create a proper budget for schools.
“We’ve seen Rep. Fitzpatrick do a good job in bringing a budget out of the House that probably does as good as can be done. I think we’re interested to see how these things develop,” Mazur said. “I think it’s important to put that money in there because of things it can do for early childhood education and really make an investment. It’s nice to see somebody really pushing the ball forward on that front and I hope that holds up.”
Merideth agreed that Fitzpatrick has been doing a good job managing the budget that he was given. He also credited Fitzpatrick’s ability to work past party lines as he’s done well integrating Democrats into a majority Republican Budget committee.
“It’s refreshing from an outsider perspective to look at Jefferson City and see some of that bipartisanship,” Patterson added. “I think we’re finally getting to going to get a come-back-together moment.”
Fitzpatrick’s leadership was commended by Lakin as well. Not only were his efforts in managing the budget committee emphasized but also his previous history as an intern and how he came to be some familiar with the budget itself.
“What he has proven in this process is that he is a guy that spends tremendous amounts of time in preparation and hard work on this stuff,” Lakin explained. “I’ll never forget, Scott (Fitzpatrick) who showed up at the state capitol before he took office, showed up in the budget office and said ‘I’d like to learn the budget,’ and they were trying to in figure out who the intern standing the front hallway was. We’ll that’s now the budget chairman.”
According Lakin, Fitzpatrick has been able to create a transparent process and fund priorities during difficult periods due to his large amount of time spent learning the budget and getting as familiar with it as possible. The panel concluded with all the speakers agreeing that due to the Budget committee’s efforts, education for k-12 might be fully funded for an entire year.