Below are excerpts from a September Platte County Magazine Interview with State Representative Jason Grill, District 32.
COUNTY profiles -The Right Man For The Job
Jason Grill Finishes His First Session In Missouri House
Missouri State Representative Jason Grill - District 32
A note from the editor.
I first met Jason Grill in June when he arrived at River Rock Coffee Company for
the Platte County Magazine launch party.
It was so flattering because he had no idea
what COUNTY was going to be about and what it would look like,
but he had gotten an invitation and he was there.
Ah… I thought. The consummate politician. He
was charming, engaging and full of energy
about what we were doing and how he
thought it was going to benefit the entire area – not only his district.
Then, within two days of the launch party I got a
hand written thank you and congratulatory letter
on official letterhead.
I was impressed all the more and knew this was a man to get to
know and to follow.
We next met informally in Parkville to discuss this interview and to explore topics. I knewthen that my first impressions were
right on – this is a man that anyone could love and he is
not just a politician, but a politician with a vision, a mission and a message.
When we met again for this formal interview, we were both sorry that we could not meet in Platte County. We tried, but alas,
our mutual schedules called for meeting on
the Plaza. We met at Plaza Three SteakHouse around four,
before their dinner crowd came in and it was perfect.
He had a later meeting to plan his ten year St. Pius X
high school reunion nearby and I had been close by earlier that day, so it worked. I was just glad that we could meet again
in time to get the story in this issue and hope that
you enjoy getting to know Jason as much as I have.
PCM – OK, you lost your first race (see relat-
ed sidebars with this feature profile), and
you won the second and you are here! State Representative
Jason Grill. You have to be looking forward to
the next session and then running for reelection. Who will
run against you?
JG – I am truly just focused on getting ready
for the next session, but as of right now,
no one is declared to challenge me and I
haven’t heard of anyone interested.
PCM – OK. Your first session is over and
you are looking at the next. What have you
learned and where are you going? What is
the message you want your district and all
others concerned to have about you?
JG – My message is simple. Any idea is an
idea that can take wings if presented correctly and put through the right process. At
the end of the day – or the session – I just
want the residents of my district to know
that I did everything within my power to
represent them honestly and with integrity.
I listen to the people I talk to, Sabrina, and
I try my best to understand what they want,
then I take their opinions with me to
PCM – So, how do you make everyone happy?
JG – Well, unfortunately it is not possible
to make everyone happy. I understand this.
I represent not only my district in Jefferson
City, but also the state of Missouri. At the
end of the day, I have to make my decisions
based on what the people tell me they
want. what I have researched and, then,
what I feel is ultimately the best for my district
and Missouri in the overall picture. I put that objective over my own
personal political ambitions and beliefs.
Other representatives and lobbyists make
compelling arguments for their own dis-
tricts and the interest groups that they
serve respectively - many well founded,
some superficial, and some self serving. I
am not a proponent of either extreme par-
tisan politics or politics driven heavily by
special interest groups.
PCM – So how do you ignore the pressure
you must get from the partisans and the
special interest groups?
JG – I can’t say that it is not a challenge. But,
I do not, nor will I ever believe that politics
can be truly effective without compromise.
No one side is ever completely right. This is a
democratic society – the representation of all
sides and the effective compromise for the
greater good is what makes it democratic. We
all have to work together for the greater good
not our own selfish interests. We must find solutions to
the problems that face Missouri. Only partisan politicians and the
special interests want things there way
or the highway. The people in Platte
County are level headed, independent
individuals who just want effective leadership
in government that they can trust.
PCM – So, you feel that you know your con-
stituency. How do you achieve that?
JG – I was born and raised in Platte
County. I knock on doors. I interact with
individuals at the grocery store. I talk with
folks at the gym. I return phone calls. I
return emails. I go to as many events in my
district as I possibly can and get reports on
the ones I can’t go to. You can not repre-
sent people you don’t know and they won’t
trust you to represent them for very long if
you don’t have an understanding of who
they are and what they need.
PCM – It’s interesting that you mention the
knocking on doors. I met a couple – Bill and
Julie Hartoung, both doctors in your district –
who had wonderful things to say about you.
Julie’s comment when I asked her what she
thought of you was this – “I am a die hard
republican. But this guy knocked on my door
and he connected with me.”
JG – That is very flattering and I am glad to
know that she felt a connection. As a mod-
erate, mainstream legislator I have received
support from Democrats as well as
Republicans. It’s hard to remember everyone by name
when you are out there hour after hour, day
after day, knocking on doors.
However, I do remember the people I meet, the
issues we discuss, and any stories
they care to share. I listen to all sides and arguments,
and have an open door policy. No matter
what political party you are, or whether you
voted for me or not, I took office to
effectively represent all individuals in the
PCM – Well, enough about politics. Let’s
talk about Jason Grill the man. You grew
up here right? Went to school here? Have
lived here all your life right? How does your
family feel about your political life?
JG – Yes, I grew up here. I went to St.
Therese grade school and then to St. Pius X
high school. I graduated from Saint Louis
University earning an economics degree
and to law school at the University of
Missouri-Columbia where I earned my law
degree. My father is a Platte County attorney, my mother just retired from U.S.
Army Corp of Engineers. I have a large
extended family here. They are all extremely supportive. We are a close knit group.
Having grown up here only makes me more
passionate about what I am doing. In edition to serving as a legislator
I am also anattorney and an adjunct
professor at Park University.
My family helps me balance my career and
my duties by encouraging me
and by believing in what I am doing.
PCM – So, what do you do in this so called
‘life” of yours while you are not out making
Missouri and Platte County a better place?
What do you read? Where do you go? How
do you unwind?
JG – Because I truly love what I do, I enjoy
the all aspects of my political and profes-
sional life. There are many family events –
weddings, birthday parties, dinners and the
like all the time, and attending these events
is a large part of my life. I read all the local
papers and the KC Star, I like the local
magazines – KC Magazine and COUNTY
of course, and quite frankly beyond keeping up with
professional journals and political news, I read GQ,
Esquire and Men’s Journal. I also read historic biographies of
great presidents – just finished a good book
on JFK and another on Lincoln. And to
unwind and stay in shape I run at the
YMCA or at English Landing Park in
Parkville and play tennis or basketball
when I can.
PCM – We are both watching our watches
and I know you have another engagement,
so what is the last word Jason?
JG – The last words for me would have to
be just these– I care deeply about Platte
County. I love the great state of Missouri
and want to do what I can to make it a bet-
ter place for everyone. That is why I got
involved in government. I truly believe
strong communities will lead to a better
way of life for all Missourians.
PCM – Thanks Jason. I think that you will
get your wish and I wish you all the best. I
look forward to many future interviews
and to watching your career move forward.
JG – Thank you very much!