Jason Thomas Smith (born June 16, 1980) is an American businessman and politician who has been the U.S. representative for Missouri’s 8th congressional district since 2013.[1] The district comprises 30 counties, covering just under 20,000 square miles of southeastern and southern Missouri.[2]

Before being elected to Congress, Smith served four full terms and one partial term in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was the majority whip during the 96th Missouri General Assembly[3] and as the speaker pro tempore during the 97th Missouri General Assembly.[4]

Early life, education, and business career

Smith was born in St. Louis to Bill, a former minister and auto mechanic, and Mary, a former employee of Briggs & Stratton and a dog breeder.[5] He graduated from Salem High School in 1998.[6]

At age 20, Smith earned two degrees from the University of Missouri: a Bachelor of Science in agriculture economics and a Bachelor of Science in business administration. He attended law school at Oklahoma City University. He is a licensed real estate agent and formed his own small business specializing in property investment and development. He earned his Juris Doctor in 2004.[6][7]

After passing the Missouri Bar in 2004, Smith practiced law at a local law firm in Cuba, Missouri. He also took over his family’s farm, just outside Salem, which has been in Smith’s family for four generations. At this time, he was a co-owner of a dog breeding business which his mother operated.[8]

Missouri House of Representatives

State Representative Jason Smith in 2012

After State Representative Frank Barnitz resigned in 2005, Smith ran for Missouri’s 150th Legislative District, which covered portions of Dent, Phelps, Crawford, and Reynolds counties. Smith defeated Democratic challenger Bobby Simpson 54%–44%.[9] At 25, Smith was just barely old enough to be a state representative and became the youngest member of the Missouri House of Representatives. During his first year in office, he served as Majority Assistant Deputy Whip[10] and served on the Agriculture Policy Committee, Appropriations—Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee.[10]

One year after being elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in a special election, Smith defeated Democrat Jim O’Donnell 64%–32%. In his first full term, he served as the vice chair of the Special Committee on Job Creation and Economic Development.[11]

In his third election in just three years, Smith received 70% of the vote, defeating Democrat James D. Ellis in 2008 to secure his second full term in the Missouri House of Representatives.[12]

In November 2010, Smith was unopposed in his reelection campaign to his fourth full term to the Missouri House of Representatives.[13] After his reelection, he was elected by his peers to serve as one of the youngest Majority Whips to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives.[14]

Repeal of puppy mill and animal cruelty prevention bill

In 2011, Smith sponsored legislation to repeal Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, a voter-approved piece of legislation that had toughened oversight of so-called “puppy mill” dog breeding businesses and required “daily feeding, annual veterinary care, increased living spaces and greater access to outdoor exercise” for dogs.[15] The repeal became law that year and removed those protections.[16]

Smith was again unopposed in his final election to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2012.[17] Upon the start of the 97th General Assembly in 2013, he was elected by his peers to serve as the speaker pro tempore of the Missouri State House of Representatives.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2013 special election

Smith ran for the vacant 8th congressional district of Missouri seat after U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson resigned to accept a CEO position with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Per Missouri statute, Smith was selected by the 8th District Republican Central Committee to be the party’s nominee in the June special election. The selection process—which began with 27 candidates and narrowed to 13 on nomination day—lasted six total rounds before Smith was the last one standing as the Republican nominee on February 9, 2013. Some of the other candidates included State Representative Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, former State Treasurer of Missouri and U.S. Representative Wendell Bailey, former State Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, former State Treasurer of Missouri Sarah Steelman, State Representative Clint Tracy of Cape Girardeau, and State Senator Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau.

In the June special election, Smith was challenged by Democratic State Representative Steve Hodges of East Prairie, businessman Doug Enyart of the Constitution Party, and Libertarian Bill Slantz. He was declared the winner of the special election on June 4.[19] The election marked the 47th consecutive U.S. House race in Missouri in which Democrats failed to pick up a Republican-held seat dating back to 1994 – the second longest Democratic pick-up drought in the nation.[20]

2014

After an unopposed primary election on August 5, 2014[21] and 17 months after the special election, Smith was up for his first reelection on November 4, 2014. He won a five-way race with two-thirds of the vote and carried all 30 counties in the district.

Tenure

In 2015, Smith condemned the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which held that same-sex marriage bans violated the constitution.[22]

On March 8, 2017, Smith, during debate about a tanning salon tax under the Affordable Care Act, wondered aloud, “What I found on Google is roughly 80% of who’s taxed is women… Today is International Women’s Day. It’s interesting no one is bringing that up.” He continued, “You look at the number one cause of skin cancer… It’s the sun. So I’ve noticed the people over here haven’t found too many taxes they dislike. So why have they not proposed a tax on the sun?”[23]

Smith is a defender of gun rights; on December 6, 2017, he voted for the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, a bill that would allow individuals to cross state line while carrying a gun.[24]

As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Smith had a role in writing and passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.[25]

On January 19, 2018, Smith was one of the 235 Republicans that voted for HR 4712,[26] the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill that established procedural requirements for when an abortion results in a child born prematurely.[26]

On January 17, 2019, Smith shouted “Go back to Puerto Rico!” at House Democratic members on the House floor while Representative Tony Cardenas was presiding.[27] He later clarified and apologized to Cardenas and stated his remark was in reference to a recent trip taken to Puerto Rico by several lawmakers, including Cardenas, not to single out anyone’s ethnicity.[28] His apology was accepted.[29]

In December 2020, Smith was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting certain voting procedures during the 2020 presidential election.[30] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[31] House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of “election subversion”. She also reprimanded the House members, including Smith, who supported the lawsuit: “The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.”[32]

Smith was present on the floor of the House chamber during the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol.[33]

On May 13, 2021, Smith voted against HR 2547 – Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act, a bill that provides additional financial protections for consumers and places restrictions on debt collection activities.[34]

Smith opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandates, tweeting in July 2021, “The Biden administration wants to knock down your door KGB-style to force people to get vaccinated. We must oppose forced vaccination!”[35]

On February 9, 2022, Smith announced he would seek reelection for a sixth term and pursue the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, forgoing a run for the United States Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.[36]

Committee assignments

Current
Former

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

2013 Special Election for U.S. Representative of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJason T. Smith 42,141 67.14
DemocraticSteve Hodges17,20727.42
ConstitutionDoug Enyart2,2653.61
LibertarianBill Slantz9681.54
Write-InOthers1850.29
2014 Election for US Representative of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJason T. Smith 106,124 66.7
DemocraticBarbara Stocker60,53524.7
IndependentTerry Hampton6,8214.3
LibertarianRick Vandeven3,7592.4
ConstitutionDoug Enyart3,7992.4
2016 Election for US Representative of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJason T. Smith 229,792 74.4
DemocraticDave Cowell70,00922.7
LibertarianJonathan Lee Shell9,0702.9
2018 Election for US Representative of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJason T. Smith 180,271 73.7
DemocraticKathy Ellis60,53524.7
LibertarianJonathan Lee Shell3,8631.6
2020 Election for US Representative of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanJason T. Smith 253,811 76.9
DemocraticKathy Ellis70,56121.4
LibertarianTom Schmitz5,8541.8

Personal life

Smith is unmarried.[44] He is a close friend of former representatives Kristi Noem[45] and Aaron Schock,[46][47] and Senator Markwayne Mullin.[48][33]

Smith is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association of America.[49] He attends Grace Community Church in Salem, an Assemblies of God Church.[7] He was a board member of the Missouri Community Betterment Association, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and president of the Salem FFA Association.[50]

References

  1. ^ Sullivan, Sean (June 4, 2013). “Jason Smith wins Missouri special election”. The Washington Post.
  2. ^ “113th Congress of the United States, Missouri – Congressional District 8” (PDF). United States Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, Census Bureau. January 1, 2010.
  3. ^ “Representative Jason Smith”. Missouri House of Representatives. Archived from the original on February 22, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  4. ^ “10 Things to Know About Jason Smith #MO08”. Roll Call. Archived from the original on December 2, 2020. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  5. ^ “Bill Smith”. The Salem News. September 4, 2019. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    Young, Virginia (February 24, 2011). “Report: House leader has tie to dog-breeding business”. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved January 10, 2021.
    Blanck, Lisa (2016). “Missouri Puppy Miller, Congressman’s Mother, Loses Defamation Suit Against HSUS”. ShelterMe.
  6. ^ a b “Smith, Jason”. Biographical Directory. US Congress. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  7. ^ a b Jenkins, Kevin R. (October 30, 2018). “Two challenging Rep. Smith”. Daily Journal Online. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  8. ^ “MARY ANN SMITH SMITH KENNEL v. THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES MISSOURIANS FOR THE PROTECTION OF DOGS”. Supreme Court of Missouri. April 25, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2021 – via Findlaw.
  9. ^ “Our Campaigns – MO State House 150 – Special Election Race – Nov 08, 2005”. ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
    “SOS, Missouri – Elections: Special Election – November 8, 2005 – District 150, Missouri House of Representatives”. mo.gov. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  10. ^ a b “Missouri House of Representatives”. www.house.mo.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  11. ^ “Missouri House of Representatives”. www.house.mo.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  12. ^ “Our Campaigns – MO State House 150 Race – Nov 04, 2008”. ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
    “State of Missouri – Election Night Results”. Missouri Secretary of State – IT.
  13. ^ “State of Missouri – Election Night Results”. Missouri Secretary of State – IT.
    “Our Campaigns – MO State House 150 Race – Nov 02, 2010”. ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
  14. ^ “Missouri House of Representatives”. www.house.mo.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  15. ^ Staff Writer. “Lawmakers rethink Prop B”. Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved January 12, 2023.
  16. ^ Rupp, Kelsey (February 12, 2017). “Puppy mills aren’t partisan: Animal abuse deserves scrutiny”. The Hill. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    “Mo. Senate passes reversal of Proposition B”. St. Louis Public Radio. March 10, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    Group, Sinclair Broadcast (February 23, 2011). “Lawmaker could benefit from Prop. B repeal”. KRCG. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  17. ^ “Our Campaigns – MO State House 120 Race – Nov 06, 2012”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  18. ^ “Our Campaigns – MO State House Speaker Pro Tem Race – Jan 09, 2013”. www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  19. ^ “SOS, Missouri – Elections: Special Election – June 4, 2013 – U.S. Congress, District 8”. www.sos.mo.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  20. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (June 5, 2013). “Missouri Democratic US House Pick-Up Drought Extends to 47”. Smart Politics.
  21. ^ “State of Missouri – Election Night Results”. enrarchives.sos.mo.gov. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  22. ^ “The Voter’s Self Defense System”. Vote Smart. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  23. ^ Holmes, Jack (March 9, 2017). “Watch This Republican Congressman Call for Taxing the Sun”. Esquire. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    “GOP rep wonders why Obamacare taxes tanning salons instead of the sun”. Death and Taxes. March 8, 2017. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
  24. ^ “HR 38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 – National Key Vote”.
  25. ^ Wicentowski, Danny (December 19, 2017). “All 6 GOP Reps in Missouri Voted for That Crazy ‘Tax Reform’. River Front Times.
    “Estate Tax Repeal”. www.fb.org. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  26. ^ a b “HR 4712 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – Voting Record”.
  27. ^ Raasch, Chuck (January 18, 2019). “In heated moment, Missouri lawmaker yells ‘go back to Puerto Rico’ to House Democrats”. STLtoday. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    Scholtes, Jennifer; Emma, Caitlin; Ferris, Sarah (January 17, 2019). “GOP Rep. Jason Smith tells Democrats to ‘go back to Puerto Rico!’. Politico. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  28. ^ Weigel, David (January 14, 2019). “Democratic delegation’s trip to Puerto Rico becomes a target for Trump”. The Washington Post.
    “Ozarks Congressman Jason Smith apologizes for yelling, ‘Go back to Puerto Rico’. KY3. January 18, 2019.
  29. ^ Cohn, Alicia (January 17, 2019). “Democrat responds to being told ‘go back to Puerto Rico’ on House floor”. The Hill. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  30. ^ Johnson, Mike (December 10, 2020). “Motion for Leave to File Brief Amicus Curiae and Brief Amicus Curiae of U.S. Representative Mike Johnson and 105 Other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint and Motion for a Preliminary Injunction” (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States.
  31. ^ Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). “Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
    “Order in Pending Case” (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
    Diaz, Daniella. “Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court”. CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  32. ^ Smith, David (December 12, 2020). “Supreme court rejects Trump-backed Texas lawsuit aiming to overturn election results”. The Guardian. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
    “Pelosi Statement on Supreme Court Rejecting GOP Election Sabotage Lawsuit” (Press release). Speaker Nancy Pelosi. December 11, 2020. Archived from the original on August 14, 2022. Retrieved December 13, 2020.
  33. ^ a b U.S. Rep. Jason Smith. “Congressman Smith Capitol Report: What I Witnessed”. The Rolla Daily News. Rolla, MO. Archived from the original on January 23, 2021. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  34. ^ “HR 2547 – Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act – National Key Vote”.
  35. ^ “The Struggle to Vaccinate Springfield, Missouri”. The New Yorker. August 6, 2021. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  36. ^ “House lawmaker to forgo Senate bid in hope of claiming Ways and Means gavel”. NBC News. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
    “Missouri Senate race shapes into battle between controversial firebrands and GOP officials”. Politico. May 21, 2021.
  37. ^ Dunn, Rachael Herndon (November 20, 2014). “Smith has historic rise to Ways and Means”. The Missouri Times. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  38. ^ Homan, Timothy R. (December 1, 2020). “Jason Smith set to serve as top Republican on House Budget Committee”. The Hill. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    “Committee Membership”. U.S. House Committee on the Budget. January 2021.
  39. ^ “Congressman Jason Smith: “Making Washington more like Missouri”. The Missouri Times. August 14, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    Gerstein, Josh (April 8, 2014). “Holder at center of marijuana debate”. Politico. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  40. ^ “Members”. Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  41. ^ “Member List”. Republican Study Committee. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  42. ^ “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  43. ^ “Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute”.
  44. ^ Becker, Kristen (October 25, 2013). “Smith”. The Hill. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  45. ^ Mearhoff, Sarah (January 6, 2019). “Noem sworn in as South Dakota’s first female governor”. Rapid City Journal. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  46. ^ Sherman, Jake; Palmer, Anna; Bresnahan, John (March 17, 2015). “Aaron Schock’s final hours”. Politico. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2021. Aaron Schock’s Tuesday began with a quiet early-morning stroll near the Capitol with his close friend, Missouri Rep. Jason Smith.
  47. ^ Wong, Scott (September 18, 2015). “Smith-Schock ties attract scrutiny”. The Hill. Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  48. ^ McConnell, Tyler (November 4, 2014). “From Water Street to Washington: Salem’s Jason Smith goes back to Capitol Hill”. The Salem News. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
  49. ^ “Smith leads effort to overturn ammunition and tackle ban”. Elect Jason Smith. February 9, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2021.[failed verification]
  50. ^ “Rooted in Agriculture – Missouri FFA and Agriculture Education”. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
    “Protect The Harvest Newsmakers – Jason Smith”. Protect The Harvest. April 13, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2021.

External links

Missouri House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 150th district

2005–2013
Succeeded by

Kent Hampton
Preceded by

Scott Largent
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 120th district

2013
Succeeded by

Shawn Sisco
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri’s 8th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Preceded by

Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee
2023–present
Incumbent
Preceded by

Chair of the Joint Taxation Committee
2023–2024
Succeeded by

Party political offices
Preceded by

Secretary of the House Republican Conference
2017–2021
Succeeded by

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
150th
Succeeded by