Renee Hulshof, long-time radio host at KFRU and the wife of former U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof, could become the latest statewide official from Columbia after being approached as a possible replacement for state Treasurer Eric Schmitt.
In an interview Thursday, Hulshof confirmed a report in the Missouri Scout, an online news outlet dedicated to state politics, that she is interested in the job. She said she was approached twice, by advisors to Gov. Mike Parson, to gauge her interest in the post.
Hulshof said she decided she is interested after a conversation with her husband but has not been asked for a resume or an interview.
“At this point it has been a couple of short conversations and it has been nothing more,” Hulshof said.
The resignation of Gov. Eric Greitens and the election of Attorney General Josh Hawley to the U.S. Senate have created an unusual number of openings for Parson to fill.
After he took over the state’s top job, he tapped state Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City to become lieutenant governor. With the election of Hawley, he selected Schmitt, who won his current job in 2016, as the replacement. After Parson makes the selection to replace Schmitt, four of the state’s six constitutional offices will be filled by politicians who were not on the ballot in 2016.
If Hulshof is chosen, she would be the third statewide official who calls Columbia home. State Auditor Nicole Galloway, elected to a full term Nov. 6, and Hawley also live in Columbia.
There are several other candidates reportedly being considered for the position. State Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, told the Associated Press on Wednesday that she let Parson's office know she's interested in the job.
Rehder said she would enjoy the new challenge, the AP reported. As a state lawmaker she has led the push to create a statewide prescription drug monitoring program as a way to fight the opioid epidemic, a bill Parson said he wants to pass in 2019.
Several others are also vying for the job, St. Louis Public Radio reported in November.
Hulshof has hosted the Morning Meeting show on KFRU since January 2009. Her only official government job was as a communications assistant in the attorney general’s office from January 1990 to January 1993.
The state treasurer is responsible for managing the state’s bank account and investments, overseeing the unclaimed property program and operating education savings accounts and an economic development program of deposits linked to loans with reduced interest. Hulshof said she doesn’t have any specialized financial education but noted that other recent treasurers also did not have that training.
“The role of the treasurer is to hire great people to do that job and let them do it,” Hulshof said.
Her skills as a communicator and her knowledge of politics will help her to explain the job to the public and promote the work of conservative women in state government, she said.
“I think we have a story to tell in the Republican Party,” she said. “I don’t think the gender issue is owned by one party.”
The state treasurer, like the governor, is limited to two terms in office. Officeholders who take over with more than two years left on a term may only seek one additional term. If the new treasurer is sworn in after early January, the person chosen would be eligible to seek re-election in 2020 and 2024.
All current Republican statewide officeholders are white men and most of the candidates reported as being under consideration are women.
“I would hope the governor has a full slate of candidates,” Hulshof said. “The prevailing wisdom is he needs to have a woman as part of the slate of officeholders.”
Hulshof’s husband won election to Congress in 1996 from the Ninth Congressional District and held the post until 2008, when he ran unsuccessfully for governor against Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon.