ST. LOUIS - St. Louis native and Missouri Treasury Secretary Eric Schmitt will be sworn in as the state’s next attorney general in January.
Schmitt, who practiced law for 17 years before resigning to become state treasurer in 2016, said his love of law and the judicial system runs deep.
“‘We’re a country of laws, not men’ was something I understood at an early age and I wanted to be a part of it,” Schmitt said, paraphrasing former President John Adams.
Schmitt grew up with humble means in north St. Louis County. He said he picked up his work ethic from his father, who put in 12-hour shifts 7 nights a week.
Schmitt said he learned compassion from his children. He said the most important job he'll ever have is husband to wife, Jamie, and father to Stephen, Sophia, and Olivia.
Stephen, now 14, was born with a rare genetic condition, Schmitt said.
“Stephen's on the autism spectrum,” he said. “He is non-verbal, has seizures and depends on us for everything. It certainly shaped my view on the world.”
Schmitt will meet with outgoing Attorney General Josh Hawley to discuss ongoing litigation and investigations.
“Right now, my job is to learn as much as I can on what’s happening in the office,” Schmitt said.
The new attorney general said it would be “premature” to discuss Hawley’s cases on church sex abuse and sex trafficking.
In addition to the clergy abuse scandal review, Hawley also launched an investigation of tech giant Google and added Missouri to a multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. We'll soon see how Schmitt proceeds on those matters.
In the meantime, Schmitt said crime will be a major focus for him. He said he’ll be meeting and listening to prosecutors and law enforcement across the state.
“I'm up for the challenge and looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity to serve the state I love,” he said.
Schmitt said if people want an idea of his leadership style, they should look at how he handled municipal court reform as a state senator.
“We had African-American clergy, the ACLU, conservative groups, law enforcement, all going the same direction. That’s my style,” he said.