Eggleston is all in for state senate. Rep. Eggleston is running to replace Senator Dan Hegeman in the 12th as he reaches the term limit for his time in the house. He says he is running to, “produce results for the people of northwest Missouri.”
Egglestson grew up on the farm. A row crop farm in Fairport, no livestock. No air conditioning, “If you got hot then you found some iced tea and and shade and waited until September “, Eggleston said. “We had air conditioning on the tractor, since it had no cab -you just kept it moving.”
After eight years in the house he doesn’t have senioritis, he is isn’t tired of Jeff City, he wants to continue, why: “because the people asked me”, he says. He writes his own capitol report, and enjoys being on the local radio station, and still has a passion for it serving in the capitol.
“In northwest Missouri every town needs better roads, and is centered around our schools. The next thing we have to have is rural broadband”, Eggleston said. When asked why he is the right man to do this he said, “They need someone that understands them. Nearly everyone in that district has something to do with farming, something to do with school or something to do with small business. I have a background in all three, and a the track record to get things done for them.”
“Our roads are built on dirt, and under that dirt is more dirt. It’s great for farming, but we don’t have the rock to build roads on that other parts of the state have”, Eggelston said. “In northern Missouri, we need better roads,”. When asked how he could balance the idea of lowering taxes while also fixing roads, he stated that “You ask the people. Are you willing to pay more at the pump? Do you trust MODOTs going to give you better roads if you pay more at the pump or not”
Highways have become a big topic of conversation since Senator Hageman called for the director of MODOT to step aside a few weeks ago. Eggleston said it all comes down to trust. “We have to rebuild trust between MODOT and the people. And once the people understand and believe that they are going to get what they are told they are going to get then I think you are going to be able to justify funding and working with MoDOT better. “
On whether he thinks he could work with the MODOT Director he was particularly concerned with the Highway Commission’s lawsuit seeking greater autonomy from the legislative appropriations process.
Several senators have made public statements that any of the Highway Commissioners who supported the lawsuit could not be confirmed if they were reappointed. Eggleston agreed, “I don’t think you can get legislative support on anyone who signed off on the lawsuit to get reappointment. I think it’d be tough to get any potential director who wants to sue the state to have autonomous power of their money, over taxpayer money, confirmed.”
One of the hottest issues in politics today is education. Rep. Eggleston pointed out that the people in the great northwest care deeply about their schools. On the issue of education reform he said he views the current reforms as benevolent help that rural legislators can give to the more troubled districts in the cities so long as those bills do not affect the good work rural Missouri schools are doing. “The education reform is to address problems in the schools in the bigger cities. Most of the legislation you see has been to address those issues. As long as they can craft that in a way that allows rural schools to do their own thing then I’m fine to help out.”
In addition, Rep. Eggleston would also like to improve internet access in the state. “I’d love to see wall-to-wall, all you can eat, broadband internet in every home in the state,” he said.
Time in the house
During eight years in the House, Eggleston was a part of several committees, including the Ethics Committee, which he was chair of from 2019 to 2020, the Fiscal Review Committee, the Ag Policy Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee (vice-char), the Joint Committee on Tax Policy, the Interim Committee on Local Taxation, which he chaired in 2020, the Committee on Government Oversight (vice-char), and the
Rules-Administrative Oversight Committee, which he was chair of from 2021 to 2022.
“I like to feel like I’ve made the building a better environment while I was here,” Eggleston said about his time on the Ethics Committee.
Eggleston was Chair of the Ethics committee when the Missouri State House of Representatives censured their first member in January of 2021. The House voted 140-3 in favor of censuring. This has been the only time that the Missouri House of Representatives has censured one of its own members.
While serving in the house, Eggleston handled SB-153, better known as the Wayfair bill, sponsored by Senator Andrew Koenig. The Wayfair bill allows Missouri to impose a sales tax on online purchases made through vendors with a physical presence in the state and added various other tax related provisions. Eggleston insisted this be offset by a state income tax deduction so our Missouri businesses and local governments could be helped, but our citizens not be burdened with higher overall taxes.
One legislative accomplishment hit closer to home. It started when doctors told J. and his wife that she needed a kidney transplant. Further he learned that he was not a suitable donor. That’s when he signed up to be part of what is known as the Kidney Share Program.
While he wasn’t a match, he was a match for someone in Michigan and the chain ultimately led to someone there being an eligible donor for his wife. “I went in in the morning, they took out my left kidney, put it in a box and flew it up to Michigan. They put it in a stranger up in Michigan, they had a buddy who donated to someone else in Michigan, and they had a buddy that then donated to my wife and they flew it down. All three of us donors went in in the morning and the three recipients got theirs in the evening.”
Without a matching donor immediately available, patients in need of a transplant are currently put on a list. Eggleston talked about his conversation with a doctor about being on the list. “The list in the midwest is about 2-3 years and not everyone has 2-3 years, so a lot of people die waiting, but it is better than the east and west coast. On the east and west coast it is about twice that, it’s about 4-6 years. And we asked him why the difference and he said people in the midwest are just more generous.”
The plan was successful, resulting in Eggleston helping his wife and two strangers receive life saving kidney donations. This has led Eggleston to also pursue legislation regarding organ donation, including legislation that would allow non organ donors to sign up online and receive a sticker in the mail to put on their license to become an organ donor, living organ donors be treated fairly by life insurance companies, and donors and recipients not be discriminated against based on their Covid vaccination status.
He comes to the race not just with a background in the house, but in high tech. After graduating from Maysville high school, he got a degree in Electronic Engineering Technology. He left Northwestern Missouri to pursue the tech boom in Silicon Valley before later moving back to Missouri to start his own small business in his district.
While in California he said his greatest accomplishment was the work he did to revamp the phaco-emulsifer, which is the device eye surgeons use to remove cataracts. “The old device was
very traumatic on the eye, so we found that it was the pump that caused the damage and reengineered the entire machine. Previously a cataract surgery required stitches in the eye and several days of recovery. After we finished revamping the machine you walk out the same day”.
If he does gain a seat in the Senate, Rep. Eggleston said he would not join the conservative caucus. “I will be very conservative but I’m not going to be a part of a group that says you have to vote in block because then you give up your voice of the people you represent and turn it over to whoever the leader is of that particular group,” he stated. “I’ve seen a number of splinter caucuses arise while in the House, and I don’t think that was healthy for the body.”
Eggleston currently represents around 20% of the primary vote from his current house seat, which is the most in the field. His campaign is being run by Palm Strategies, “Jay has a record of finding the most conservative way to answer Missouri’s difficult issues”, said Scott Dieckhaus Partner with Palm Strategies. “We were excited when he told us he hoped to continue his service to the voters of Northwest Missouri, and even more excited when he asked us to join his team.”
He anted up pretty big last year putting $100,000 of his own money into the race. When asked what his wife’s reaction was to making that kind of investment into a political campaign he replied, “She is a big supporter. She was supportive when I moved us back to Missouri, when we started our own business, and when I first ran for the House. She has been supportive of me throughout everything I have done.”
When asked what his campaign strategy was, he was pretty direct about his answer “You just have to introduce yourself to as many people in your district as possible. Get to know them. Folks want people who are good, both in terms
of being effective and being ethical. Folks want people who are going to represent them with dignity and class, and bring some statesmanship.”