10 Questions with Jay Ashcroft
As part of our ongoing election coverage, we asked Republican state senate candidate Jay Ashcroft 10 questions about his campaign.
The Missouri Times: A poll last week gave you a narrow lead. Do you agree with the conventional wisdom that this will be a close race?
We are very excited about where we stand in this race. While we’ve seen numerous public and internal polls that show us in a strong position, it’s our conversations with voters on their door steps, in their homes, and over the phone that have given us the most confidence. It is clear that people are concerned about the security of our future, the weak economy and fiscal irresponsibility from career politicians. They overwhelmingly support electing new leaders with a fresh perspective and I am confident that we will have the support to win in November.
TMT: A major portion of your financial support comes from Missouri Senate Republicans. Does this undermine the narrative that you have “grassroots” support, as your opponents has suggested?
We have received very broad support for our campaign and I am very grateful for all who have supported for my vision for a brighter future for our state. Our campaign has truly been a grassroots effort as we have run around the clock voter contact campaign for months. Since early August, we have reached more than 20,000 voters through our grassroots voter outreach efforts. I am so proud and thankful for all of the friends, family, neighbors and supporters who have joined our effort.
TMT: Your wife and children seem to be front and center in your campaign. Has your campaign become a family affair? Do they enjoy the campaign?
Each and every day my wife, Katie, and our kids David, Samuel, and Elise are at our headquarters helping with the campaign. I couldn’t do it without them. My children are the reason that Katie and I decided that I would run. I had no plans to seek public office. In fact, in February, I signed up to coach my sons’ youth tee ball team. I planned to spend this summer and fall like most families: enjoying time together, going to school and sports for my kids, and watching the Cardinals and Mizzou. But because of our concern with the direction of our country, we decided it was my turn to step up and serve. While it wasn’t the summer or fall we had initially planned, it has been a joy to share this experience with them.
TMT: You share a last name with one of Missouri’s most famous modern political figures. You said a few months ago you hadn’t polled on whether the name helped or hurt in your race. Have you polled your name since then? Is your name helping or hurting your chances right now?
Our polling has shown that people are concerned about the way government has been negatively affecting their lives. They’re worried about an economy seemingly stuck in neutral. They’re worried about how they’re going to pay for college and afford retirement. And they’re worried that out-of-control spending and regulations are, for the first time in country’s history, going to cause the next generation to have less opportunities than the generation before it. My goal is to restore the promise that if you work hard, you can succeed. That’s what my campaign is all about.
TMT: Your opponent has some experience as an elected official. What makes you more qualified than her to represent this district in the Senate?
While a career as a politician may be considered an asset in Jefferson City or Washington D.C., when I talk to voters, they are refreshed that I bring new ideas and a fresh perspective. When I look at issues, I am looking at them as a husband, father, and someone who has worked in manufacturing and education, not as a politician trying to win yet another campaign so they can continue a career in politics.
TMT: What’s the issue being raised to you by the voters the most?
Concern for the future. They’re concerned that our economy is failing to produce jobs, government spending is mortgaging our kids’ future, and our communities are becoming fractured. Like Katie and I, voters are concerned that our kids won’t have the same opportunities we have been so fortunate to enjoy.
TMT: In a close race, how important is it that you raise more money than your opponent?
I think what is important is having a clear vision about how we can change business-as-usual in Jefferson City and being able to get that message to voters. That’s what we have been doing since March and that’s what we’ll continue doing until November 4. I am confident that we’ll have the resources to necessary to reach voters through media, but I am even more excited about the strong organization we have built that has allowed us to meet and talk to thousands of families and small businesses in the district each and every week.
TMT: The Missouri Senate ended the veto session on tense terms after the parties clashed over a filibuster. How do you intend to work in an environment increasingly more partisan?
I certainly don’t think sending more partisan politicians to the State Senate is the answer. I believe my fresh perspective as a former teacher, engineer, husband and father will allow me to work with people of all backgrounds to find solutions to get our economy moving, ensure fiscal stability, and promote safe communities for our families.
TMT: Are there any issues that you foresee bipartisan agreement on?
Absolutely. I certainly think we can work to create an economic environment where Missouri entrepreneurs thrive, manufacturing opportunities are restored, and families make enough to save for college and retirement. Unfortunately, the same failed policies of the same career politicians will continue to get us the same failed results.
TMT: If elected, what’s the first piece of legislation you’d like to file?
When I’m elected, the first piece of legislation I will file is a mandatory review of all government rules and regulations. Having worked for years to help Missourians comply with government bureaucracy, I think it’s time that we make government bureaucrats answer for the job-killing regulatory burden that our families and businesses face. I believe regulatory reform will provide relief for Missouri families and allow small businesses to get back to creating jobs for the middle class.