Last modified on January 10, 2023, at 04:18

Jason Smith

Jason T. Smith
U.S. Representative from Missouri's 8th Congressional District
From: June 4, 2013 – present
Predecessor Jo Ann Emerson
Successor Incumbent (no successor)
Former State Representative from Missouri's 120th District
From: January 9, 2013 – June 4, 2013
Predecessor Scott Largent
Successor Shawn Sisco
Former State Representative from Missouri's 150th District
From: November 14, 2005 – January 9, 2013
Predecessor Frank Barnitz
Successor Kent Hampton
Party Republican
Religion Protestant

Jason Thomas Smith (born June 16, 1980) is a Missouri businessman, lawyer, and politician who currently represents Missouri's 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party who is generally considered one of its more conservative congressmen, he has served in the House since his first election in June 2013, following a career in the Missouri state legislature.

A conservative populist and strong Trump supporter, Rep. Smith was elected on the second ballot in a tight race for the coveted chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee in Congress, on January 9, 2023.[1]

“Smith, who advocates positioning the GOP as the party of the working class, represents a shift in Republican economic strategy away from the pro–free trade, pro-business alignment it’s espoused for decades,” observed reporters Laura Davison and Chris Cioffi for Bloomberg.[2]

Early life

Smith was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Bill and Mary Ann (Canady) Smith. His father, who died in 2019, was a former minister and car mechanic; his mother is a former employee of the engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton, as well as a dog breeder. He has one brother, Bill, Jr.[3]

The family moved during Smith's childhood to the Ozark community of Salem, Missouri, where he attended Salem High School and graduated in 1998. He then went to the University of Missouri, obtaining two Bachelor of Science degrees in Agriculture Economics and Business Administration. In 2001 he began studies at the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he served as class secretary, vice president of the law school's student body, and its representative in the student senate. After earning his law degree in 2004, he returned to Missouri, where he passed the state bar, practiced at a law firm in Cuba, Missouri, and managed the family farm, while also operating a small real estate business that he had begun while at law school.[4]

Missouri House of Representatives

In 2005, Democratic state legislator Frank Barnitz, representing the 150th District (in which Smith resided), announced his resignation, forcing a special election to replace him. Despite having only just that summer turned 25 and thus become eligible to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives, Smith announced his candidacy on the Republican ticket, and when the election was held on November 8, 2005, he won with 54% of the vote. When he assumed office six days later, he was the youngest member of the state legislature. He won reelection to his first full term the following year, and successfully ran again in 2008, 2010, and finally 2012, after which he was term-limited. After 2008 he was unopposed by Democrat candidates.[5]

During his first session in the Missouri House, Smith was appointed Majority Assistant Deputy Whip, and received several committee assignments. After winning his first reelection bid in 2006, he was named Vice-Chairman of the Special Committee on Job Creation and Economic Development. For the start of the 2011 legislative session, he was elevated to the position of Majority Whip (one of the youngest legislators to serve in that capacity), and in 2013, as his final term began, he was elected House Speaker Pro Tempore.

U.S. House of Representatives

On January 22, 2013, Republican congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, then representing Missouri's 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House (including most of south-central and southeast Missouri), announced she was resigning to become CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. At the party's nomination convention on February 9, Smith defeated a number of well-known state politicians--including Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, and several state senators and representatives--to become the Republican candidate in the special election, which was held on June 4. In that contest, he defeated Democratic State Representative Steve Hodges of East Prairie with 67% of the vote. This marked the 47th election in a row, going back to 1994, that Democrats failed to flip a Republican-held seat for the U.S. House in Missouri: an indication of the state's increasingly conservative tilt.[6]

Smith won election to a full term in the House in November 2014, again with about 67% of the vote, and has increased that margin of victory in subsequent races. In the November 2020 general election, he won about 76.9% of all votes cast, his best showing to date. He has consistently won a majority in every county in the district.[7]


During his time in Congress, Smith has gained a reputation as one of its most reliably conservative members. His lifetime rating (through 2019) from the American Conservative Union is 90.89, the highest of any current member of Missouri's federal delegation and 56th among current members of the U.S. House overall.[8] To date, he has sponsored 80 bills. Some of the more notable of these include:

  • In 2013, only ten days after winning his first congressional election, a resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • In 2015 and 2016, bills to restrict spending by the EPA.
  • In 2017, a bill to suspend federal transportation funding for so-called "sanctuary cities."
  • In 2018, a bill to repeal the death tax.
  • In 2020, a bill expanding the circumstances in which active members of the military could carry concealed firearms.
  • In 2020, a bill to enhance the security of federal elections.[9]

Notable events

During a March 2017 debate concerning an Obamacare tax on tanning salons (ostensibly for the purpose of reducing skin cancer), Smith noted that most forms of skin cancer are caused by harmful radiation from the sun, and sarcastically asked why Democrats had not introduced a tax on the sun. Leftist media outlets then accused Smith of seriously proposing a tax on the sun.[10]

Smith was accused of making racist remarks following a House session in January 2019, in which he shouted "Go back to Puerto Rico!" at several Democratic representatives while California Democrat Tony Cardenas was presiding over the session. It was suggested that he was making a slur against Cardenas (the son of Mexican immigrants) and other Hispanic members; he explained that he was referring to a trip Cardenas and some others had recently taken to Puerto Rico, and not to anyone's ethnicity.[11]

2020 election fraud

For a more detailed treatment, see Biden Putsch.

Following the fraudulent 2020 presidential election, Smith was one of 126 House Republicans who signed an amicus curiae in support of the Texas v. Pennsylvania lawsuit, pointing out the blatant lawbreaking that occurred in several states allegedly won by Joe Biden. Remaining a public supporter of President Trump throughout the ordeal, he was also on the House floor during the Capitol protests in January 2021. In a subsequent open letter to his constituents, Smith strongly condemned those who had broken into the Capitol building, while also equating the events with Nancy Pelosi's endorsement of the 2020 Antifa riots and defending the First Amendment rights of the majority who had come to protest peacefully.[12]

Committee assignments

Smith currently sits on the House Committee on the Budget, and on the House Committee on Ways and Means. He was previously on the Judiciary and Natural Resources Committees.

Russia–Ukraine War

For a more detailed treatment, see NATO war in Ukraine.

In May 2022, Smith voted for passing $40 billion to Ukraine war.[13]

Personal life

Smith is at present unmarried. He is a regular attendee of Grace Community Church in Salem, part of the Assemblies of God denomination. A lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, he enjoys hunting in his free time. Among his personal friends is Kristi Noem, former U.S. Representative from and current governor of South Dakota.[14]