House Speaker Elijah Haahr announced the appointment Monday, three days before the extraordinary session on the state’s supplemental budget is slated to start. Deaton, who is still in his first term in the General Assembly, is replacing former Rep. David Wood in the leadership role.
Haahr said the upcoming session made the appointment necessary.
“Rep. Deaton will be ready to assist the committee’s work to appropriate important funding to combat COVID-19,” Haahr said in a statement.
As we prepare for the Governor’s special session on the budget, I am honored to appoint @DirkEDeaton as the Vice Chair of the Budget Committee and add @Fishel136 to complete the committee’s membership. #MoLeg pic.twitter.com/eNTxVjNocl
— Elijah Haahr (@elijahhaahr) November 2, 2020
“Creating a balanced and fiscally responsible spending plan for state government is the most important obligation faced by the General Assembly each year,” Deaton said. “During these challenging times, I am committed to working every day to make sure Missourians’ tax dollars are being spent wisely, understanding government is only able to spend insofar as it burdens the taxpayers of this state.”
Deaton already served on the Budget Committee as well as Fiscal Review, Special Committee on Government Oversight, and Joint Committee on Legislative Research. He previously told The Missouri Times he particularly enjoyed his work on the Budget Committee as he sought to “really ensure that we’re taking care of tax dollars and cutting government where we can and making sure those dollars are being used as efficiently as possible.”
“I’m very excited to work with Rep. Deaton in his new role as vice-chair of the House Budget Committee,” Rep. Cody Smith, the committee chairman, told The Missouri Times. “His talents will be put to good use as a leader in the appropriations process.”
The youngest member of the General Assembly, Deaton has made a name for himself among his colleagues in the legislature. He was named to The Missouri Times’ 30 Under 30 list earlier this year.
In the House, Deaton represents HD 159 in the southwestern most corner of Missouri. It encompasses McDonald and Newton counties. Prior to his election, Deaton served as president of the McDonald County Republican Club and is one of the founders of the Noel Betterment Association, a group that helps the town with holiday events and other needs.
Gov. Mike Parson called lawmakers back to the Capitol to address a supplemental budget and distribute CARES Act funds for child support aid, job training grants, school nutrition services, and homeless prevention, among other things. It’s possible the extraordinary session could be expanded to include COVID liability.
House Democrats have asked the governor to reveal his plans for the session.
“The governor’s special legislative session starts in just three days, yet he continues to hide his agenda from the people of Missouri,” House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said Monday. “If he’s too embarrassed or frightened to publicly disclose his plans before Election Day, it’s difficult for Missourians to have any confidence the governor is looking out for their interests rather than those of his cronies.”
Parson called an extraordinary session earlier in the year to address anti-crime measures. Lawmakers ultimately ended residency requirements for police and public safety officials in St. Louis as well as created a witness protection fund.
In addition to elevating Deaton on the committee, Haahr also tapped Rep. Craig Fishel, a Republican who has represented HD 136 since 2019, to join the committee as well.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.