Jay Wasson was in Seymour last Friday.
For those whose minds need refreshing, Wasson was our state senator roughly a decade ago, holding the post before Webster County was attached to the 33rd District, which then was served by State Sen. Mike Cunningham, who held the post from 2012 to 2020.
When Wasson was our senator, Cunningham was his chief of staff while he was between gigs as our state representative, then state senator.
Confused yet? I am.
I’ll make it more confusing from this point on by referring to both guys by their first names. When each served Webster County in elected office, that’s how they wanted it.
Point is, Jay was a stellar senator for Seymour.
On two occasions that I can remember, he went above and beyond to take care of our small city with key legislative actions in the Missouri Senate. One was for our city.
Another was for our school.
Best of all, Jay was and is real.
He’s one of us.
His word is his bond.
In a world increasingly becoming filled with self-serving career politicians whose primary concern is self preservation, Jay is a very refreshing change. He looks like us. He talks like us. Heck, he is one of us — a self-made Ozarker with common sense and follow through.
Sounds simple, I know.
But it’s rare among politicians.
Politically, Mike Cunningham is the gold standard in these parts. For what it’s worth, Jay Wasson is Mike’s best friend.
Let that sink in.
Jay was in town because he’s entered the field to fill Billy Long’s seat in the 7th District of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Long’s running for the U.S. Senate, which creates a 2022 vacancy. Although Jay has been retired from political office since 2018, duty called as the field began filling with Republican candidates whose priorities seem better suited for the pulpit than actually representing southwest Missouri.
If you want the next Joel Osteen in Congress, don’t vote for Jay Wasson.
If you want some self-serving, argumentative radical walking the halls of our nation’s capital, don’t vote for Jay.
Looking for an egomaniac in elected office, Jay’s not your guy.
What you will get with Jay Wasson is a straight-up, plain talking elected official. His staff will be talented and focused on its constituents. If they’re not, they’ll be unemployed.
You’ll get a self-made man who believes in capitalism and has participated in the process.
But there is a catch.
Here in Seymour, we need to get in Jay’s district.
As it now stands, Seymour is part of the 4th District of the U.S. House of Representatives.
It’s been that way since 1982, when Webster County, for purely political reasons, was gerrymandered from Springfield’s congressional footprint.
Western Webster County is part of the 7th District, as ours is a split county with eastern Webster County being part of the 4th District.
That benefits no one here.
The hope is that in new redistricting, Polk County goes to the 4th District, Taney County attaches to the 8th District, then Webster County, in its entirety, connects to its natural (and logical) 7th District.
You should hope for that.
Because if that does occur, you can vote in next August’s Republican primary election for Jay Wasson, who easily is the best choice for Long’s soon-to-be former seat.
For Webster County, the end result will be our best representation in 40 years.
Seymour’s leaders actually will be able to call their congressional representative and get a response.
The city of Seymour, for the first time in a long time, will have its congressional representative step foot in the city limits for something other than a quick march through a parade.
“There are two small towns in the Ozarks that feel like home to me,” Jay told me Friday. “One of them is Crane, and the other is Seymour.”
Here’s hoping Jay comes home.
Two things need to occur.
First, Webster County must be part of the 7th District. Second, Jay needs to win his upcoming primary and general elections.
The challenge is the first part.
If that occurs, we can take care of the second part.
Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at email@example.com.