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Travis Smith announces bid for 33rd District Senate seat


State Rep. Travis Smith, Twin Bridges and formerly of West Plains, announced his candidacy for the State Senate on Thursday. He is running for the 33rd District seat currently held by Karla Eslinger, Wasola, who will not seek reelection at the conclusion of her term.

Smith describes himself as a dedicated Constitutional Conservative and public servant, and said he intends to bring with him to the Senate “a wealth of experience and a commitment to preserving the values cherished by the people of southern Missouri.”

Smith's roots run deep in southern Missouri. In expressing his motivation for seeking higher office, Smith reflected on his family's history.

"My grandfather was a postman, my grandmother was a Christian homemaker that put family above self, my mother was a teacher at the local high school and college and my father, a dentist who never turned anyone away because they couldn’t pay,” he said. “I am a small businessman, high school sports coach and first-generation farmer. I chose to stay here and invest in southern Missouri because I believe in our way of life and our people.”

Smith said his values and commitments include “unwavering patriotism,” standing for the national anthem, honoring veterans, dedication to his Christian faith, fighting for the unborn, upholding Second Amendment rights and defending property and privacy rights.

“I am the first to say that I believe in my God, my country, my people and myself in that order,” he said.   

With over 20 years of experience owning and operating a small business, Smith said he understands the importance of local commerce. His collaborative efforts with business owners have led to the growth of local commerce, bringing jobs and revenue streams to the rural Ozarks.

"There has never been a more pressing time in our country or in our state to have strong, conservative leadership in government,” he commented. “Each election holds the power to move us forwards or backwards. My plan is to keep us on the path to success."

Smith currently represents the 155th District of the Missouri House of Representatives, comprised of Douglas, Ozark, Stone and Taney counties. Elected to his first two-year term in November 2020, Smith brings a diverse background as an economic developer, high school track coach and community leader. He was named Freshman Legislator of the Year by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri and a Master of Business Administration from William Woods University. 

Smith previously also served as a board member for organizations including the chamber of commerce, the Howell County Development Committee, West Plains Public Library Board and Ozarks Healthcare. During a time when many rural hospitals were closing, Smith noted, he lobbied in Washington, D.C. and helped obtain $58 million in funding to help expand his community hospital. 

Born in West Plains, Travis Smith now resides in Twin Bridges with his wife Karen, and they are proud parents of four children and one grandson Dwayne who loves fishing with his grandpa every chance they get, Smith shared.