Nixon appoints a Democrat, Nicole Galloway, state auditor

CLAYTON, Mo. – Nearly two months after Missouri’s Republican state auditor took his own life, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday announced a replacement from his own party: Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway.

“The office of the State Auditor is responsible for safeguarding taxpayer dollars; rooting out waste, fraud and abuse; and ensuring that state government programs operate with the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability Missourians expect and deserve,” Nixon said in a statement.

Galloway, a certified public accountant who has served as a corporate auditor for Shelter Insurance Companies and Brown Smith Wallace, LLC., will replace Nixon’s temporary replacement, his close adviser John Watson, who had been serving as auditor since Tom Schweich killed himself in February.

“The people of Missouri have my commitment that I will be an independent watchdog that reviews all levels of government with even-handedness and integrity,” Galloway said. “The office will be committed to protecting taxpayers and ensuring that government is held accountable for the resources it uses and to the citizens it serves.”

Earlier this month, Nixon’s office interviewed half a dozen candidates, including Galloway, two Republicans, and candidates supported by members of the Legislative Black Caucus, who thought Nixon could earn good will by appointing the first African American to statewide office.

Instead, Nixon used the opportunity to raise one who Democrats believe to be an up-and-comer within the party’s ranks – opting to add someone who is young and a woman to the party’s crop of otherwise white men who the state has elected to its constitutional offices.

Jonathan Prouty, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, noting Schweich’s easy reelection campaign last fall in which he faced no major opposition, said he was disappointed by Nixon’s choice.

“Last November, Missourians overwhelmingly elected a Republican State Auditor to serve as a counterweight to Gov. Jay Nixon. It is disappointing that Nixon has put politics ahead of the wishes of the voters by handpicking a member of his own party to fill the vacancy in the office,” he said. “The State Auditor should serve as an advocate for the people of Missouri by casting a critical eye towards the governor’s administration, but Nicole Galloway is entirely beholden to Jay Nixon.”

The choice to appoint Galloway to an office is one Nixon has made twice before. In 2011, Nixon appointed her to the position when it was vacated, and in 2013, he appointed her to the Missouri Technology Corporation.

Tuesday’s announcement came an hour before police here held a press conference about Schweich’s suicide.

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