Mike Smith (Louisiana Politician)

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Kenneth Michael "Mike" Smith, Sr.​

Louisiana State Senator for District 31 (De Soto, Grant, Natchitoches,
Red River, Sabine, and Winn parishes)
In office
1996​ – 2008​
Preceded by Don Kelly
Succeeded by Gerald Long​

Born June 1, 1948​
Winnfield, Winn Parish,

Louisiana, USA

Political party Democrat-turned-Independent
Spouse(s) Linda Ann Clardy Smith​
Children Lori E. Smith​

Kenneth Michael Smith, Jr.​

Residence Winnfield, Louisiana​
Alma mater Winnfield Senior High School​

Northwestern State University

Occupation Businessman; former educator
Religion Baptist
Notes:
  • In 1974, Smith joined his father and brother in the establishment of P.K. Smith Motors in Winnfield, Louisiana. A decade earlier, Smith's father, Perry K. Smith served a single term as a state representative.
  • An extended member of the Long family, Smith served as a Democrat in the state Senate but later changed his registration to Independent.
  • Smith considers the new building of Louisiana Technical College - Huey P. Long Campus in Winnfield - as his prime achievement as a state senator.​
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Kenneth Michael Smith, Sr., known as Mike Smith (born June 1, 1948), is a businessman in Winnfield, Louisiana, who served as a Democrat in state Senate District 31 from 1996 to 2008.[1]

Background

Smith was born in Winnfield to Perry "P.K." Smith (1917-1983) and the former Marjorie McLamore (1923-1997). He graduated in 1966 from Winnfield Senior High School, at which he was active in Future Farmers of America. One of his classmates was James R. Fannin, a state representative and later state senator from Jonesboro in Jackson Parish, whose then House District 13 included the northern portion of Winn Parish. Another was Danny Keys, director of the Louisiana Technical College - Huey P. Long Campus[2] in Long's native Winnfield.

In 1970, Smith obtained a degree in agribusiness from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. For two years, he taught in public schools. In February 1974, Smith, his father, and brother, Perry Joe Smith, Sr. (1943–2009), launched a combined General Motors and Chrysler dealership, which still operates at the intersection of U.S. Highways 84 and 167 in Winnfield. In 2009, Chrysler pulled out of the Winnfield market; Smith began to sell Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, and Cadillac vehicles.[3] Smith co-owned the business with his brother. The Smith family formerly operated other businesses, including a motel, restaurant, drive-in theater, dress shop, beauty shop, and a franchise of the former Gibson Discount Company.[4]

P. K. Smith served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for a single term from 1960 to 1964.[5] Perry Joe Smith was a former member of the Winn Parish Police Jury and operated other businesses, including P&K Farms, the former Perry Joe Smith Ford in Montgomery in Grant Parish, Popeye's Chicken in Winnfield, and Brushy Creek Oil Company. He was also active in the local, state, and national Cattlemen's associations.[6]

Smith is a member of the Masonic lodge, Rotary International, and, like most members of the extended Long family, the Southern Baptist Church. He is a first cousin of Senator Gerald Long, who was term-limited in 2019, because Long's mother, Ruby Smith Long (1906–1984) of Natchitoches, was a sister of P. K. Smith.​

Political career

Smith won his Senate seat in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 21, 1995, by defeating an intra-party rival, Mike Henry, 22,980 (61.7 percent) to 14,244 (38.3 percent).[7] In 1999, Smith again dispatched a Democratic rival, James Haley, 23,283 (68.1 percent) to 10,899 (31.9 percent).[8] He was unopposed in the 2003 primary for his third and last Senate term. Senator Smith served on the Agriculture Committee and was its chairman from 2000 to 2008. He also served on the Commerce Committee as vice chairman from 1996 to 2000 and on Revenue and Finance, starting in 1997.[4]

Smith was term-limited in District 31, which encompasses all or parts of De Soto, Grant, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, and Winn parishes. In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, Smith was succeeded by his Moderate Republican[9] cousin, Gerald Long,[4] a Winnfield native residing in Natchitoches. Long defeated outgoing state Representative Taylor Townsend, a law partner with his uncle, Democratic former state Senator Donald Gene Kelly. Townsend in 1999, had defeated Gerald Long’s brother, Jimmy D. Long of Natchitoches, for the state House seat.[8]

Smith considers the establishment of the Huey Long Technical College facility the "gold star" of his career in the state Senate. The institution outgrew its previous downtown Winnfield location, and the new structure was built in north Winnfield off Highway 167 near the senior high school.[4]

After leaving the Senate, Smith emerged as a critic of the conservative radio talk show host Moon Griffon, based in Lafayette, formerly in Monroe. In October 2010, Smith called the program using his first name "Kenneth." He alleged that two unnamed Republicans control the content of Griffon's remarks. Griffon replied that he alone owns his program and speaks his own views without dictation from anyone else.[10]

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, Smith, as of 2013, is no longer a Democrat but a registered Independent.

References

  1. Membership in the Louisiana State Senate, 1880 - Present (Winn and Natchitoches parishes). legis.state.la.us. Retrieved on October 29, 2009.
  2. Louisiana Technical College - Huey P. Long Campus. www.universities.com. Retrieved on October 30, 2009; no longer on-line.
  3. P. K. Smith Motors of Winnfield, Louisiana. pksmithmotors.com. Retrieved on October 29, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Tom Kelly. New trade school OK’d in Winn: 'Gold Star' in career, says retiring State Senator Mike Smith. thepineywoods.com. Retrieved on October 29, 2009; no longer on-line.
  5. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2020 (Winn Parish). Louisiana House of Representatives. Retrieved on October 29, 2019.
  6. Obituary of Perry Joe Smith, Sr.. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 29, 2009; no longer on-line.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 21, 1995.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 23, 1999.
  9. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 20, 2007.
  10. The Moon Griffon Show, October 22, 2010.

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