Sen. Jay Wasson has been dubbed one of the most influential senators in the state senate and is terming out in 2018.
Q: What’s the best lesson learned or advice you received as a legislator?
A: The most important lesson I learned as a legislator was to keep my word and not commit before having all the information. I learned every issue has a least two sides and to keep an open mind, respect the ideas and priorities of others and not be influenced by potentially self-serving outside sources.
Q: What would you say your greatest accomplishment as a lawmaker would be?
A: I think it would be impossible to distinguish any one bill or issue as being more important than another, but I believe the knowledge I have gained in many areas allowed me to address a variety of issues of importance to our state. I was fortunate to have learned a great deal of knowledge in many areas and subjects.
Q: What’s the funniest story you have from your time in the legislature?
A: On my way to the Capitol, I stopped for gas and mistakenly left in a similar vehicle, (which was not mine.) I drove several miles before realizing I was in the wrong vehicle. Luckily, it belonged to an acquaintance, who was able to meet and exchange vehicles.
Q: Who do you most admire as a legislator?
A: In my 16 years in the legislature, I have served with many individuals who I admire very much. There are three in particular who come to mind; Senator Ron Richard whose vision and integrity was unwavering the entire 16 years I served with him, Senator Delbert Scott for his calm demeanor and delivery, and Senator Victor Callahan for his intelligence and knowledge of the legislative process.
Q: What will you miss most?
A: I will miss the people and relationships I have established. In the past 16 years, I have made some very strong relationships not only with legislators and staff but also within my district with individuals I may never have become acquainted with if not for my job.
Q: What was the toughest moment or decision for you personally as a state lawmaker?
A: In January 2014, as session began, my wife was diagnosed with cancer, which required multiple surgeries and several weeks of treatment. I felt, at that time, my priority was to be there to support my wife but I was also committed to fulfilling my legislative obligations. That was a rough session.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would share with the younger legislators still in office or those looking to run for office?
A: My advice would be to take the job seriously but do not take yourself too seriously. Vote your conscience and always remember where you came from. Your district and your hometown will keep you grounded if you let it.
Q: If you could have a one-on-one conversation with your voters, what’s the one thing you want them to know about you?
A: I think over the past 16 years, my voters have gotten to know me pretty well. They may not have agreed with me on every issue but I hope they know I tried to listen, to be fair and to do what I thought was right at the time.
Q: How has this role of serving changed you?
A: Overall, serving in the legislature has been a humbling experience. I have learned to listen more and weigh all my options. I have even become a little more patient.
Q: What do you hope you will be remembered for?
A: I hope I would be remembered as someone who worked hard, served with honor and integrity and represented my voters to the best of my ability.
This appeared in the fall 2018 edition of the Missouri Times Magazine, available in Jefferson City at the Capitol, Tolson’s, Cork, and J. Pfenny’s, and online here.