Paul Jost ’76, a College alumnus and prominent businessman in Williamsburg, is running as a Republican candidate for the 1st District congressional seat left vacant following the recent death of Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis. The Republican nominee will be selected by convention Saturday.
In addition to having served as a member on the College’s Board of Visitors, Jost is the chairman of the Virginia chapter of the Club for Growth and a significant contributor to GOP causes. The Flat Hat recently conducted a telephone interview with Jost.
p. **Flat Hat: Why are you running for office? What issues do you want to address?**
p. **Jost:** I want to make a change. I am the chairman of the Club for Growth which supports lowering taxes, limiting government spending, and fighting earmarks and pet projects that waste taxpayers’ money. I feel spending has gone out of control, we no longer pay the proper respect to the military, we no longer pay respect to our values, that’s true in Richmond too, with the new “abusive driver fees and transportation fees.”
p. **FH: How has your experience at William and Mary affected you?**
p. **Jost:** [It was the] greatest time of my life. I was at William and Mary as an undergrad from 1972 to 1976. I then went to the law school here, but transferred after a year to attend the Harvard Business School. I came back in the 80s and finished up my law degree. The professors here were tremendously talented people; dealing and interacting with them really changed my life.
p. And senior year I got cancer, so I had to drop out of school for a semester. The support that I got from faculty, administration and students was tremendously helpful.
p. I had to have two surgeries. I spent five weeks at the naval hospital in Portsmouth and had students from William and Mary visiting me in Portsmouth everyday. This was before the Monitor-Merrimac tunnel was built too, so you had to go around.
p. **FH:** Was it a life-changing experience?
p. Jost: Definitely. For one, it brought me closer to my family. My father who was not a religious man said he went to the chapel to pray for me there and I knew that meant a lot coming from him.
p. **FH:** Was there a particular class or teacher at William and Mary that made an impact on you?
p. **Jost:** Tom Graves, the president of the school, and Jim Livingston, a professor of religion and the dean of the undergraduate program — had a great impact on me, because when I interacted with them, I was treated as an equal. They listened to me with respect even when we disagreed on certain things. Once I was quoted in the Flat Hat and I said “My goal is to make William and Mary a better place to go to school” and Tom Graves wrote me, “That is our goal as well.” That stayed with me. Dr. Graves also sent me three hand-written notes when I was in the hospital and it meant a lot to me that here he was, the president of the College, and a very busy man, yet he took the time to actually sit down with a pen and paper and write to a student — three times.
p. **FH:** You were President of the Student Association at William and Mary. Did that affect your decision to get involved in politics?
p. **Jost:** Well, from the time I was a little boy I always felt like I could make an impact. Of course, the older you get, the less idealistic you are, but I still think if I put enough effort into it, I can still make a difference.