Lamar Seeligson Smith (born November 19, 1947) is an increasingly liberal Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 21st Congressional District, who was elected to office in 1987. He is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. He is retiring from his seat effective January 3, 2019.
Smithhas claimed to be a fiscal conservative based on his vote for a balanced budget amendment measure with no chance of passing in the U.S. Senate. Smith voted for ending taxpayer support of presidential campaigns. He voted against Barack H. Obama's raising of the debt ceiling.
He is responsible for introducing the controversial SOPA bill into the House of Representatives as an attempt to curb online piracy and copyright infringement.
Smith has introduced, and voted for, a number of bills which placed restrictions on abortion, and has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
In June 2011, Smith became embroiled in a controversy over his opposition to the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, which would have ended the prohibition of marijuana at the federal level. The bill was introduced by Barney Frank. Smith announced that he had no intention of giving the bill a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, of which he is the chairman. The bill hence never reached the House the floor.
In 2017, Smith urged his constituents to base their national news on "tweets" from U.S. President Donald Trump, rather than the "biased" media. The remark prompted Rick Casey of the San Antonio PBS affiliate KLRN on his former Texas Week program which was to have been aired on February 3, 2017, in which Casey would urge viewers to ignore Smith's suggestion. Casey sarcastically called Smith's proposal "quite innovative for America" and suggested that it had been tried in such countries as communist North Korea. The commentary about Smith was, however, cut from Casey's actual broadcast on orders of the KLRN president, who said the could have damaged federal funding for KLRN. Since that controversy, Texas Week has not aired.
Smith will retire from Congress effective January 3, 2019. Eighteen Republican candidates filed to run in the Republican primary on March 6, 2016, to choose a nominee to succeed Smith. This nominee will be the presumed favorite in the November 6 general election considering the configuration of District 21. Among the candidates are former U.S. Representative Francisco Canseco and Robert Stovall, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Bexar County.
Lamar Smith is married to Elizabeth Lynn Schaefer. He has two sons from his previous marriage. Smith is a Christian Scientist.
- John Tedesco, "Public affairs show still up in air: KLRN slot not filled months after Casey's exit," San Antonio Express-News, February 4, 2018, pp. 1, A23.