Former U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) will be working the halls of power for at least another four years. Smith, who ran his family's Pendleton frozen food business before entering politics, represented Oregon in Washington for two terms until losing his seat to Democrat Jeff Merkley in 2008.
No Republican has won state-wide office in Oregon since. Today Smith's current employer, the National Association of Broadcasters, announced he's agreed to lead that group through 2018, making it unlikely that Smith will re-enter electoral politics any time soon.
Here's the announcement from the NAB:
WASHINGTON, DC -- NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him in the position until December 31, 2018, NAB Joint Board Chairman Charles Warfield announced today.
Smith joined NAB in November 2009 and oversees the advocacy efforts of thousands of local radio and television stations across America. He is a former two-term United States Senator from Oregon (1996-2008) and was a successful entrepreneur before launching his career in politics.
"Gordon Smith has been tested under fire and proven himself to be a remarkable unifying voice for America's free and local radio and television stations," said Warfield, senior advisor to YMF Media. "His integrity is unquestioned, and his determination to fight for broadcasters in the public policy arena is undiminished."
"I'm thrilled to accept a new contract from NAB," said Smith. "Free and local broadcasting is the indispensable one-to-everyone communications technology that is always reliable in a fragmented media world. It is worth fighting for, and I'm honored by the faith that the NAB Board is putting in me to continue leading the charge."
During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Smith's committee assignments included the Senate Commerce Committee, the panel that oversees broadcast-related legislation. He also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was respected as a pragmatic lawmaker able to successfully reach across party lines. Smith's role on the Commerce Committee and as the Chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues.
After leaving the Senate in 2008, Smith joined the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP for 10 months before accepting an offer to head the NAB.
Born in Pendleton, Oregon, Smith attended college at Brigham Young University and received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles. He practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Oregon. Smith Frozen Foods is now a $50-million-a-year enterprise, and one of the largest frozen foods companies in America. Before serving in the U.S. Senate, Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.
Smith and his wife Sharon are the parents of three children and have two grandchildren.