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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Mike Parson has appointed Andrew Bailey as the next attorney general for the state of Missouri.

Bailey, raised in mid-Missouri, currently serves as general counsel to the governor’s office. It’s the first time he has held a statewide political office.

Bailey, 41, also carries experience a Missouri Assistant Attorney General, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and as General Counsel for the Missouri Department of Corrections. He is a former veteran and a father of four.

“He is the right man for not just right now, but for the future of our state,” said Gov. Parson during a news conference Wednesday. “I am confident in his ability and know he will serve the people with demand and dignity they deserve.”

Bailey will take over as attorney general in January when current attorney general Eric Schmitt officially switches political offices. Schmitt won the election for U.S. Senate in November.

“It has been the highlight of my professional career to work with such talented people at the governor’s office, all dedicated to moving the state forward in the public good,” said Bailey. “It has been a remarkable time in our state’s history, and it is an honor to get to be a part of it.”

It’s the second appointment in Gov. Parson’s administration for attorney general. He previously promoted Schmitt when Josh Hawley departed the role for Missouri U.S. Senate in 2019.

During Schmitt’s time as attorney general, he made headlines for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmitt sued multiple school districts in Missouri over mask mandates, accusing districts of overstepping their authority and asking parents to report schools enforcing the mandates.

Bailey said he will take some time to review various lawsuits and sunshine requests to find out how or whether to proceed with lawsuits that originated from his predecessor Schmitt.

“We’re going to look at everything the office has, everything the office is doing, the resources that are available, and we’re going to always look at ways to get better,” said Bailey.

Many Missouri Democrats are hopeful various lawsuits under Schmitt’s leadership will end.

“Upon taking over in January, Attorney General-designee Andrew Bailey must immediately move to dismiss every one of Schmitt’s frivolous lawsuits that hasn’t already been laughed out of court,” said Missouri Minority House leader Crystal Quade. “This is an essential step to restoring the integrity of the office and demonstrating that, for the first time in years, Missouri has an attorney general who will put the legal interests of all Missourians ahead of the political ambitions of one. We are hopeful Mr. Bailey can succeed in the immense task that awaits him.”

The state will also need to fill a soon-to-be vacancy for treasurer after outgoing office-holder Scott Fitzpatrick won the election for Missouri auditor. Schmitt and Fitzpatrick leave two seats open among Missouri’s six political statewide offices.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has the responsibility to make appointments and interview candidates for both seats to finish up current terms. His appointments are expected to give Missouri a Republican head at each of the six offices.