The International Center for Law and Religion Studies is honored to announce that former United States Senator Gordon H. Smith has agreed to join the work of the Center as a Senior Fellow. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Senator Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years. Senator Smith served the State of Oregon in the US Senate from January 3, 1997, to January 3, 2009. He was the first individual to run for a state’s two United States Senate seats in one calendar year. He served on the Special Committee on Aging in the One Hundred Ninth Congress. During his Senate tenure Senator Smith’s committee assignments included the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. He also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His role on the Commerce Committee and as chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues. After leaving Congress, Senator Smith served as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP, and in November 2009 joined the National Association of Broadcasters as president and CEO.
Born in Pendleton, Oregon, Senator Smith relocated with his family to Bethesda, Maryland, where he attended the public schools. As a young man, he served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand. He graduated from Brigham Young University in 1976; received law degree from Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, in 1979. He practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Ore. Senator Smith was appointed an Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in March 2012. He and his wife Sharon are the parents of three children and five grandchildren.