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Jay Wasson launches congressional bid for CD 7

Former Sen. Jay Wasson launched his congressional bid in the 7th district Thursday, saying he plans to “fix what is broken” in Washington, D.C.

Wasson served multiple terms in the Missouri House and Senate, representing SD 20 in the upper chamber where he was known for his conservative leadership. An Ozarks native, Wasson serves on the Missouri State University board of governors. 

In an interview with The Missouri Times ahead of the announcement, Wasson said he wasn’t planning to run for office again until he saw the massive spending bill working its way through Congress and the Afghanistan withdrawal that killed several U.S. troops. 

“I’ve always been someone who felt like I could solve problems or at least work with people to solve problems, to fix things,” Wasson said. “Right now, Washington appears to me to be terribly broken, and I just feel like I have to do something. Sometimes you’re called to duty; you can’t pick when that happens. I was enjoying my retirement very much, but I feel like this is something I have to do.” 

Wasson, 64, said he does not plan to stay in Congress “for very long.” Instead, he said he wants to “work to fix what I can and come home.” 

Home for Wasson is in Christian County where he resides with his wife Retha, a retired accountant. 

In the Senate where he served in leadership, Wasson promoted right-to-work legislation and tax cuts.

Wasson has a background in real estate development, particularly in commercial development. It was that experience that made him particularly interested in economic development issues in the General Assembly, Wasson previously told The Missouri Times. He also said that background has prepared him for Congress since he’s had to deal with government regulation. 

In the Senate where he served in leadership, Wasson promoted right-to-work legislation and tax cuts. He was a champion of fully funding schools, advancing gun rights, and cutting abortion. 

“I have been able in my political time, as well as in my business time, to find like-minded people and build coalitions and get things done,” Wasson said. “I don’t know that everybody is always able to do that. If all you’re going to do is yell on the floor ‘no,’ you’re probably not going to be able to accomplish a lot.” 

At just 19 years old, Wasson began working as a home builder in order to help pay inheritance taxes owed on the Christian County family farm after his father’s death. 

Like his mother, Wasson is a former Nixa mayor. He’s a member of the Nixa Area Chamber of Commerce and the recipient of the Government Excellence Award from Missouri State in 2018. 

With Congressman Billy Long opting to run for U.S. Senate, Missouri’s 7th congressional district is up for grabs. CD 7 spans the southwest corner of the state and includes both Branson and Springfield. 

Republican Sens. Eric Burlison and Mike Moon have already launched bids for the seat. 

“It is critical now that we have leaders in Congress who are committed to a constitutional government, fiscal restraint, faith, national and border security, and personal freedom and responsibility,” Wasson said. “We need leaders in Congress with a documented record of successfully leading conservative initiatives past liberal, bureaucratic, and special interest roadblocks.”