Governor Parson has added two Democrats to his stimulus work group. State Representative Kip Kendrick of Columbia and Senator Karla May of St. Louis were added after some criticism. Members are charged with giving recommendations about how to best spend 2.3 billion in federal stimulus dollars to help in the state’s response to the coronavirus.
Originally, the group did not include any Democrats, women or people of color. The chairman of the panel, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, says the governor’s intent was to include state budget experts and a representative of the federal Congressional delegation.“I think what the governor was trying to accomplish was having some legislative input, some federal input with a member of the federal delegation staff representative there, somebody from a staff level from the executive branch as well as the budget director and myself and then also Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey,” says Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick also said that demographics were not the concern, “At the end of the day I think the governor is interested in having a group of people with relative experience and can provide result. And the demographics are a secondary concern “*
The coronavirus is disproportionately affecting African-Americans in Missouri. Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat challenging Parson for governor, is reviewing the way the state is using the funding.
Fitzpatrick says he hopes to have the first meeting next week. It has been moved to a public setting that is to be determined.