Gordon Harold Smith

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Gordon Harold Smith
U.S. Junior Senator, Oregon
Image:GordonSmith-official_portrait.jpg
Party Republican
Assumed office (class II)

January 7, 1997
Serving with Ron Wyden

Preceded by Mark Hatfield
Committees
Born May 25, 1952
Spouse Sharon Smith
Religion Mormon


Gordon Harold Smith (born May 25, 1952) is a former United States Senator from Oregon. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is on the periphery of the Udall political dynasty, being a cousin of Representatives Mo and Stewart Udall.

Contents

Background

Smith was born in Pendleton, Oregon. His family moved to Bethesda, Maryland when he was a child. After graduating high school he went on a two-year mission for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) to New Zealand. He then went to college and became an attorney in New Mexico and Arizona, but moved back to Oregon in the 1980s and became director of Smith Frozen Foods company in Weston, Oregon. In 2003, Smith experienced a personal tragedy when his son, Garrett, a college culinary arts major, committed suicide.

Politcal Career

He entered politics and was elected to the Oregon state senate in 1992 and became president of that body in 1995. Later in 1995, he ran in a special election for a senate seat vacated by the resignation of Bob Packwood, but was defeated in that election in January 1996 by congressman Ron Wyden. He was able to run for the senate again later that year, however, when Mark Hatfield announced his retirement and Smith became the Republican candidate for the normal November elections. This time he won, and ended up serving as a colleague with his former opponent, Ron Wyden. Smith also achieved political distinction by being the first person to run for the senate twice in one year.

Senate Career

He was reelected in 2002. After his son's suicide, in 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, authorizing $82 million for suicide-prevention and awareness programs at colleges.

Position on the Issues

On Iraq

Smith fully backed the Iraq War, having voted for both authorization of funding the war, and then voted for authorization in 2002. He was a vocal supporter of the war until after the 2006 elections, at which time he changed his mind about the war and announced that the U.S. should withdraw. This abrupt volte-face followed six years of 100% support in legislative voting for Bush' foreign policies. (Source: Gordon Smith's predictable realignment - DailyKos diary.)

On January 10, 2007 Smith issued a press statement saying that “Iraqis need to be their own street cops, not U.S. forces,” and saying that Bush's plan to escalate troop levels in Iraq was "...the President’s Hail Mary pass. Now it is up to the Iraqi Army to catch the ball. We are extending an ineffective tactic to further the status quo. Iraqis must be the ones to settle their own peace.” In the same statement he also opposed cutting funding for the war by saying “One thing remains certain, as long as the Commander in Chief orders our armed forces into harms way, the Congress should extend blue chip financing to our troops. De-funding their bullets is dishonorable and deadly.”[1]

On January 23, 2007 Smith told the Eugene-Register Guard that he would cosponsor the Warner-Levin resolution, the non-binding bipartisan resolution to express the sense of Congress in opposition to Bush's escalation of troop levels in Iraq, saying "this war has devolved far beyond what we authorized," placing U.S. troops in the middle of a sectarian war between Shiites and Sunnis. Yet on February 5th, when the resolution came up in the Senate, Smith not only had he failed to hold up his promise to cosponsor the resolution, but actually voted against the measure, and give a de-facto agreement to troop escalation. After the resolution was filibustered, Smith then had himself added as a cosponsor.

On Civil Rights & Homosexuality

Smith became a strong supporter of expanding hate crime laws to encompass crimes against homosexuals. On June 15, 2004, an amendment doing this which Smith co-sponsored was passed (65-33) with every Democrat in the Senate voting for the amendment. As a result, he was one of a few Republican senators supported by some gay rights groups in the United States, including the Human Rights Campaign. Since then, he came out in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. In addition in the 2004 election cycle, he lent his name and support for Oregon's anti-gay "mini-DOMA" ballot Measure 36 which ended up passing.

On Free Speech

In January 2006, Smith began circulating draft legislation entitled the Digital Content Protection Act of 2006 [2]. The legislation would grant the Federal Communications Commission the authority to authorize a "broadcast flag" for "digital audio receiving devices" and devices that "transmit digital audio broadcast signals".

On Stem Cell Research & Abortion

Smith is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem cell research,[3] even as he largely opposes abortion.

On Support for Segregationist Leadership

During the week of November 17, 2006, Sen. Gordon Smith was a key backer of Sen. Trent Lott's return to a leadership post who had been forced to resgin his leadership osition after cotnrversial remarks Lott made in expressing his tacit support of former Senator Strom Thurmond's segregationist past. Lott won his bid to become the minority whip, the second-highest Republican post in the Senate having defeated Sen. Lamar Alexander, in a 25-24 vote. During the closed-door election, Sen. Judd Gregg, had nominated Lott, and Smith seconded the nomination, as confirmed by Smith's spokesman R.C. Hammond. Smith then spoke in support of Lott.[4]

On Ethics Reforms

Smith backed the Democratic crafted ethics reform legislation called the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act (S. 1), which was passed 92-2.

On Job & Economic Equality

While paying lip-service to supporting increasing the Federal minimum wage to less than what the Oregon Min. wage is, Smith on January 23, 2007 entered several of amendments, SA 113, SA 132, SA 165 and SA 166 which is identical to SA 132 submitted by him the same day, to the House passed proposed minimum wage increase. These amendments were offered in a flurry of amendments by the GOP side to slow down passage of the minimum wage bill. These bills could be seen as a way to "filibuster" by amendment, while the changes themselves are couched in proposed text changes that focus on areas favored by Democrats and progressives, thus making it more problematic to attack Smith on the merits of the amendments themselves.

He would later in the week fail to vote for cloture on the Minimuam Wage bill to bring the bill to a final vote, which would pass the Senate.

Governmental Experience

Affiliations


Resources

Contact

Washington, DC Office
404 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510-3704
Phone: (202) 224-3753
Fax:(202) 228-3997

Portland Metro Office
One World Trade Center
121 SW Salmon St., Suite 1250
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 326-3386
Fax: (503) 326-2900

Eastern Oregon Regional Office
Jager Building
116 S. Main St., #3
Pendleton, OR 97801
Phone: (541) 278-1129
Fax: (541) 278-4109

Western Oregon Regional Office
Federal Building
211 E. 7th Ave., #202
Eugene, OR 97401
Phone: (541) 465-6750
Fax: (541) 465-6808

Southern Oregon Regional Office
Security Plaza
1175 Main, #2D
Medford, OR 97504
Phone: (541) 608-9102
Fax: (541) 608-9104

Central Oregon Regional Office
Jamison Building
131 NW Hawthorne, #208
Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 318-1298
Fax: (541) 318-1396

Electronic contact page

Sources

GovTrack link

External Links

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