A southern Missouri congressman who serves as the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee says he’s considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2022. U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) spoke to Missourinet Monday evening outside the Statehouse in Jefferson City, after he met with the governor about the issue of feral hogs.

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) is outside the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on March 29, 2021 (Brian Hauswirth photo)

“I will just say that I would put my record fighting for working-class families, farmers, small business owners and my conservative credentials amongst any names that’s been out there or suggested for the United States Senate,” Smith says.

Former Governor Eric Greitens and Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both Republicans, have announced they’re running for the Senate. Former State Sen. Scott Sifton (D-Affton) and Jefferson City native Lucas Kunce are two Democrats who have announced. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has also been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate.

Incumbent U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R) is retiring. He’s finishing his second six-year Senate term on Capitol Hill.

Smith, who represents 30 counties in southern and southeast Missouri, emphasizes that he hasn’t made a decision yet.

“I was elected by the good people of southeast Missouri to do a job in Washington D.C. as the Republican leader of the (House) Budget Committee. I’m fighting everyday for our rural way of life to make sure that (President Joe) Biden doesn’t take away our freedoms and liberties, and that is my focus right now,” says Smith.

The Budget Committee is chaired by U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Kentucky), and Smith is the committee’s top Republican.

Smith, who’s served in Congress since 2013, was re-elected in November with 77 percent of the vote against Festus social worker Kathy Ellis. The sprawling Eighth Congressional District includes Cape Girardeau, Farmington, Poplar Bluff, Portageville, Kennett, West Plains and Rolla.

Meantime, Congressman Smith and 70 other congressional Republicans have signed a letter, calling for an investigation into the suspension of the southern border wall construction. Smith says President Biden’s decision has fueled a crisis at the border.

“What the president did on his first three hours in office, by a declaration, was to halt funding that was appropriated by Congress in a bipartisan way. You’re talking about billions of dollars that was appropriated in a bipartisan way, and he halted the construction of the southern border,” Smith says.

President Biden issued a January 20 proclamation, saying that building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border “is not a serious policy solution.” President Biden described it as a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security. President Biden says his administration is committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our nation’s values.

As for the feral hog issue, Governor Mike Parson says State Sen. Jason Bean (R-Holcomb) also participated in Monday’s meeting with Congressman Smith, as well as Missouri Department of Conservation Director Sara Parker-Pauley and representatives from the USDA and U.S. Forest Service.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem), which was recorded outside the Missouri Capitol in Jefferson City on March 29, 2021:

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