ST. JAMES - Zech Hockersmith, Democratic candidate for 120th District 
representative in the Aug. 5 special election, grew up in Poplar Bluff 
in southeast Missouri.
“I like to think of myself as an old Southern Democrat,” he said.
His use of the word “old” is descriptive of the style of Democratic 
positions he holds, not his own age, for he’s only 26.
But he notes that he is pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.
“I’m just like anyone else around here,” he said.
Hockersmith, an elementary school teacher at Boys and Girls Town 
(Great Circle), wants to succeed Jason Smith, a Republican from 
Salem, in the Missouri Legislature. Smith resigned  when he was 
elected to the Eighth District U.S. representative post in a special 
Congressional election in June 2013.
It’s taken awhile, but Gov. Jay Nixon has called for a special 
election Aug. 5 to fill the vacant 120th District seat.
According to William "Bill" Camm Seay, chairman of the 120th 
Legislative District Democratic committee, Hockersmith, of St. James, 
was chosen by a majority vote March 18 at a special meeting of the 
committee in Cuba, Mo. Seay would not release the actual vote count.
Hockersmith was chosen over Robert Mesger, of Sullivan, the only other 
Democratic candidate to express interest in being nominated.
The two candidates were interviewed by committee members March 11, 
Seay said.
Of the 19 committee members who could vote, 13 of them showed up to 
cast a ballot.
Hockersmith will face off against Shawn Sisco, a Republican from 
Rolla, in the special election Aug. 5.
Both Hockersmith and Mesger have filed for the Democratic primary 
election to be held the same day. Sisco has filed for the Republican 
primary as has Jason Chipman, of St. James.
The person who wins the special election, after being sworn in, will 
serve in the state House until the candidate who wins the August 
primary and subsequently the November general election is sworn in. 
That possibly could be the same individual.
The 120th District covers eastern Phelps County, including the City of 
St. James, and almost all of Crawford County.
Hockersmith is in his first year as a teacher and his sixth year with 
Boys and Girls Town. He is a former cottage life supervisor.
He has also worked construction. “I come from a long line of 
contractors,” he said, and his relatives are well-known in the 
building trades in southeast Missouri.
He has completed an education degree from Drury University and is a 
certified Missouri teacher working on his master’s degree in 
administration from William Woods University.
His wife, Amber, is a teacher at Rolla Middle School. They have two 
children, Isaiah Gabriel, 5, and Micailah, 1.
His family and his job have combined to lead him to seek the post in 
the state Legislature.
“I’ve been advocating for children my entire adult life. What 
better way to advocate for children than to go to Jeff City and 
advocate for everyone,” he said.
His background and his education led him to seek the position as a 
Democrat, for Hockersmith.
“I have a strong conviction to represent the people,” he said, and 
he believes Democrats have traditionally been in touch with working 
people and working families.
“I’ve always had two or three jobs,” he said. “I work a full 
day every day. I’ve got two children to feed.”
In addition to his work at Boys and Girls Town, Hockersmith owns a 
small business that installs swimming pools.
Hockersmith believes government can play a role in making families’ 
lives better through reforms.
“I’m more of a progressive than anything else,” he said, 
hearkening back to men like Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard 
Taft. “We’re never going to go wrong investing in our human 
resources,” Hockersmith said.
And education is a prime way to invest in people, he stressed with 
anecdotes from his own life and his father’s life.
Education, economic growth and “a strong conviction for the family” 
are going to be emphasized in his campaign and in his tenure, if he is 
Regarding economics, Hockersmith muses, “If there are more 
billionaires than ever before, why is unemployment higher? If rich 
people make jobs and we’ve got more rich people than we did, why 
aren’t they making jobs?”
Government must figure out how to incentivize those rich people to 
invest their money in ways that will make more jobs, he said.
He likes the way former state Rep. Jason Smith has always worked hard 
to keep people in the district informed.
“That is something I want to continue,” he said. “When I vote 
for something, I want people to understand why.”