CARTHAGE, Mo. – One of the newest faces to the Missouri House this spring will be that of Cody Smith.
The new representative from District 163 replaces the term-limited Tom Flanigan, who served as chairman of the House Budget Committee.
“He’s done a lot for southwest Missouri, and worked hard to represent the district well,” Smith said.
He says Flanigan has left big shoes to fill, as he was one of the senior members from the region as well. Smith says that he’ll lean on the advice of Flanigan and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard to learn as much as he can to better serve his state.
A lifelong resident of Jasper County, Smith hopes to use his background to represent his constituents in the best possible way.
Juggling the duties of a state representative, a husband, father, and business owner is no easy task, but it’s a challenge that Cody Smith looks forward to.
Smith currently lives in Carthage with his wife, Jana, and son, Charlie (pictured). He grew up in Jasper County, graduated from Carthage High School in 1998 and studied Business at Missouri Southern State University.
He spent eight years in the banking industry before relocating into the world of small businesses. He now owns a company that uses technology to prevent infectious diseases from spreading in healthcare facilities.
He has served as president of the Carthage Tree Board as well as being a member of the Carthage Planning and Zoning Variance Committee. Cody is also a member of Rotary Club International and the National Rifle Association.
Smith announced his intent to run in February, launching his campaign for the district seat against two other Republican candidates.
“We met every week as a group for several months. We had a lot of grassroots support, a number of really good people helping me campaign, knock on doors, fundraise, and do all of the things you have to do to get your message out,” he said. “I was just really fortunate to have support from the community.”
Smith overcame his opponents in the primary, Bill Birkes and Steve Leibbrand, both of whom he says were great competition. Liebbrand passed away just two weeks after the primary, which Smith says came as a shock.
“He was a wonderful guy, just a really nice guy,” Smith said.
Smith attributes his win to the fact that he’s new to politics, a characteristic that has worked well in this election cycle for several of the so-called “political outsiders.”
“I’ve never held a political office, or been a public servant,” he said. “But as a small business owner, I can relate to folks that struggle through government bureaucracy, or red tape. The way I interact with the government is very similar to people living across the state, so I think my message resonated with voters because of that.”
Smith’s stance on government is a simple one: a limited, smaller government leads to more freedom. He supports conservative values, like fiscal responsibility and protection of people’s rights, values long held in the typically red Jasper County.
He says he’s excited and grateful for the opportunity to represent the 163rd District, and hopes to bring a fresh point of view to Jefferson City.
“I’m passionate about making Missouri a better place to live and work,” he says, and he intends to help make that a reality.
PHOTOS/FACEBOOK – CODY SMITH
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.