Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

March 2, 2007

Legislator Profile: Sen. Jeff Smith

Jeff SmithSen. Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) was elected to the Senate in 2006 to represent District 4, St. Louis City. Smith currently teaches political science as an adjunct at Washington University, and also has taught courses on public policy and politics at Dartmouth College and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “The University of Missouri’s most significant impact in the 4th District is that it turns out hundreds of graduates each year that come to work in the district’s industries of biotechnology, manufacturing, academia and hospitality,” Smith said.

Smith was a National Merit Scholar at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a double major in African-American studies and political science. He also received a master’s degree and a doctorate in political science from Washington University.

In addition to teaching, Smith has served as an evaluator for the St. Louis Public Schools and consulted for the Vashon Compact, a nonprofit focused on improving achievement at ten of the city’s lowest-performing schools. He also is a co-founder of the Confluence Academies, a group of urban public charter schools.

According to Smith, higher education drives the state’s economy by “preparing a workforce for the 21st century as the state endeavors to become a biotechnology hub.”

The greatest challenge facing higher education in Missouri today is funding, Smith said. “We need to keep tuition increases in check, and we need to help improve access to college for low-income students,” he said. “We need to continue to upgrade the physical plant to keep facilities up-to-date with the latest technology.”

In the Senate, Smith is a member of the Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight; Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence; Pensions, Veterans’ Affairs and General Laws; and Seniors, Families and Public Health Committees.

“The mission of the University of Missouri is to provide a world-class post-secondary education to all Missourians regardless of socioeconomic status, and to facilitate academic inquiry and scientific discovery that will lead to cultural advancement,” he said.

“The University of Missouri is a beacon of knowledge and is integral to the economic development of the state by turning out an increasingly well-educated and productive workforce,” Smith said. “Hopefully, in the next decade, we will make our University system one of the nation’s finest.”

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