There are three candidates running for 8th District Representative to the U.S. House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 election. They are Jason Smith, Republican and incumbent; Kathy Ellis, Democrat; and Jonathan Shell, Libertarian.
Jason Smith (R)
Jason Smith is a seventh-generation Missourian raised in Salem. He attended Salem High School, where he was an active member of FFA. At the University of Missouri-Columbia, Smith earned degrees in agricultural economics and business administration. He attended law school at Oklahoma City University before returning home to run the family farm and practice law. He attends Grace Community Church in Salem.
Smith was elected to the Missouri General Assembly in a special election in 2005. He was selected to serve in leadership — first as the Majority Whip and then as one of the youngest Speaker Pro Tems in state history.
During a special election in June of 2013, Smith was elected to represent Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was re-elected in November 2014. As a member of the 115th Congress, Smith serves on the Ways and Means Committee and the Budget Committee. He was also elected to serve as conference secretary.
Smith has earned 100 percent ratings from the American Conservative Union and the Chamber of Commerce. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and supports pro-life and traditional values.
“In Washington I’ve been a strong defender of rural Missouri and all of rural America,” he said. "I’m committed to fighting intrusive government regulations, increasing markets for farmers and ranchers and protecting the people of the 8th District’s rural way of life.”
Smith expresses his views on the following issues:
Veterans — “The men and women who put on a uniform to defend our nation deserve the absolute best,” he said. “Whether it’s fully funding the equipment they need to do their jobs or ensuring they have great healthcare when they get home from a tour of duty. I’m honored to vote in favor of policies that support our veterans.”
Healthcare — “Healthcare is personal,” Smith said. “I believe Americans should have healthcare freedom and plenty of choices when making these very personal decisions for themselves and their family. The bottom line is that the government should not be sitting in the exam room with you and your doctor.”
Defending Rights — “The Founding Fathers defined ‘inalienable rights,’ as something that all Americans are born with,” he said. “No matter how much the world has changed since these rights were written, we must make sure that they’re not stripped away by a Washington lobbyist only concerned with representing liberal interests.”
Farm Focus — Agriculture is the number one economic driver in the 8th Congressional District,” Smith said. “As your representative in Congress, I am focused on farms and fighting for the families who run them.
Roll Back Regulations — “The army of Washington regulators who have never stepped foot in Missouri should not have the power to tell you what you can and cannot do,” he said. “In Congress, I am constantly working to roll back regulations and keep Washington off the back of all Americans.
Taxes — Workers earn their paycheck and should be able to keep it because they know how to spend their money way better than some bureaucrat in Washington, Smith said.
Kathy Ellis (D)
Kathy Ellis is a sixth-generation Jefferson County resident. She attended school in the R-1 School District — and during her senior year — received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen award before attending college and graduate school.
After college she lived in St. Louis County for several years before returning to Jefferson County to live in Festus. Ellis’ father was the CFO of the Northwest School District and her mother was a third-grade teacher. Her brother was a police officer, as well as band leader of a “big band” in the St. Louis area before his sudden death at the age of 39. She and her family stepped in to provide support for his children and wife and has continued to do so.
She has been married to Ann, a high school science teacher, for three years. The couple enjoys hiking wherever they travel, working in their gardens and volunteering for causes they believe in.
Ellis is a psychotherapist, as well as a Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Certified Experiential Therapist III. She has a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Missouri-St. Louis where she was among the first group of women to compete for the prestigious Rhodes Scholar program, and a Master of Social Work from Washington University.
During her early career, she worked in the juvenile court system, in a federally-sponsored program for adolescents at risk, in a child welfare specialization training grant at Washington University supervising and teaching students and was the director of Service Area G that covered Jefferson, Franklin, and St. Charles counties’ Missouri Council on Criminal Justice.
Ellis was the director of a women’s halfway house and worked at an addictions treatment facility before starting a private practice. In addition to her private practice, she continues to be a facilitator and trainer in the areas of domestic violence, addictions and recovery, experiential therapy, trauma and other mental health issues for professional organizations.
Ellis has served as a board member of a health center since 2011 and currently serves as the vice chair of that center.
“This experience has helped me to see the needs of an under-served population and how important it is to provide health care for all,” she said. “I have been a strong advocate for providing services to women and children who are victimized by domestic violence.”
Ellis expresses her views on the following issues:
Healthcare — “Healthcare is a right,” she said. “Every person in this country deserves to have good healthcare, not just the wealthy few. I support a single payer medical system to expand Medicare for all.”
Jobs — “We need good jobs that produce a living wage,” Ellis said. “The 'right to work' movement and subsequent laws that have passed the legislature in Missouri and the rest of the country don’t produce the results that their proponents claim they will.”
Education — “We need to provide our public university students with the opportunity to have a debt-free education and have equal educational opportunities for all students. We also need to look at the deficiencies in public education and fix it.”
Immigration — “We need Congress to act on sound immigration policies that protect our borders and our jobs while still inviting in the innovation that immigrants can bring to our country,” Ellis said. “We need to deal more effectively with the undocumented who have committed violent crimes.”
Taxes — “Donating millions of dollars into the campaigns of politicians doesn’t entitle the upper 1 percent to a tax cut,” she said. “It’s time to give the middle class a tax cut.”
Military — “Our military needs to be strong,” Ellis said. “We need to examine the kinds of armaments we need for 21st Century conflicts and we need to take care of those who serve the nation. The healthcare and social needs of our soldiers and veterans should be a top priority.”
Jonathan Shell (L)
Jonathan Shell is a resident of Madison County and lives in Fredericktown. He is employed as a factory worker, married and the father of two children.
Shell is a professing Christian and member of both the Missouri Libertarian State Executive Committee and St. Michael Township Libertarian Committee. He is not accepting any donations for his candidacy and is instead running an internet campaign from his official website.
“Other candidates are bought and paid for,” he said. “You know this, I know this, so in November 2018 try voting for the ‘little’ guy. I can honestly say no one not a single person or entity has contributed to me, so I can go right to work for you and skip the usual favor repaying other candidates must attend to. Rich Republicans have held this district through many elections and yet nothing changes. They promise the moon and only deliver to their wealthy donors.”
Shell expresses his views on the following issues:
Infrastructure — “Institute immediate use of prison work groups for road and bridge repair,” he said.
Second Amendment — “I’m a pro-gun member of the Missouri Civil War Reenactors' Association,” Shell said. “I favor no gun regulations — no background checks and lift restrictions on homemade and concealed weapons to all U.S. citizens able to vote.”
Taxes — “Theft!” he said.
Renewable Energy — “End federal subsidies for ethanol in favor of more efficient fuel research. Lift restrictions on battery and solar makers,” Shell said. “I will strive to bring more solar jobs into Missouri.”
Economic Growth — “I support legislation to legalize marijuana and end the Fed (Federal Reserve Board). Lift restrictions and licensing on small business.”