Senator Smith was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate in 1996. He served from January 1997 to January 2009, and was chair of the Special Committee on Aging. Senator Smith was a member of the Oregon State Senate from 1992-1997, and was President from 1995-1997. He was president of Smith Frozen Foods; and had practiced law in Arizona. Senator Smith was a law clerk for the New Mexico Supreme Court after receiving his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. Senator Smith was raised in Bethesda, Maryland, and was born in Pendleton, Oregon.