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Andalusia Star-News - "House Candidate Smith Visits City"

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Location: Andalusia, AL

Andalusia Star-News - "House Candidate Smith Visits City"
By Michele Gerlach

State Sen. Harri Anne Smith (R-Slocomb), who plans to seek the Republican nomination for Alabama's 2nd district in the U.S. Congress, brought her campaign to Andalusia Tuesday.

"Mainly, I've tried to listen to leaders," she said. "I want to hear what's important to them."

Smith spent the day with the county and city political leaders and met with supporters in a dinner meeting at Larry's BBQ last night.

She said the military, Social Security and agricultural issues are the most important for the 2nd District.

The military, especially through Maxwell Air Force Base and Ft. Rucker Army Base, is vitally important to the 2nd District, Smith said.

"That's our Hyundai or Mercedes," she said. "It has a huge impact."

Her husband, Charlie Smith, serves as a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and has spent 29 years in the National Guard.

"We want the best possible equipment for our troops," she said. "We also want to be supportive when the next BRAC comes.

"My husband was one of the charter members of Friends of Ft. Rucker to provide support during the BRAC process," she said.

Asked about the war in Iraq, Smith said, "I support our soldiers who are serving there."

"As a battalion commander's wife, I have been there when they left and when they came home. I can only go on what I've heard from them and they say it's a good thing we're doing there."

Turning to the economy, she said she feels as a banker she would bring important skills and experience to the Congress.

"I'm used to the budgeting process from the legislature and I understand the importance of interest rates and tax cuts," she said. "I have a genuine concern and I support what the president has said.

"I am a Republican and I do support the proposed tax cuts," she said. "I'm not for increasing taxes. I'm the only Republican who stood against the governor on Amendment I because I oppose new taxes."

Amendment I, passed by state vote in 2006, requires every school system in the state to have at least 10 mills of ad valorem taxes as its base funding.

Smith is a former mayor of Slocomb and is serving her third term in the state senate. She serves as executive vice president for Slocomb National Bank.

Her work on the Slocomb City Council and as mayor led to an interest in economic development, she said, adding that she is proud of the progressive stance the state legislature has taken in economic development.

Both State Rep. Jay Love (R-Montgomery) and Montgomery television executive David Woods have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission that is required when a campaign's fundraising tops $5,000. Dothan resident John Martin, also a Republican, has declared his candidacy, as has Dothan oral surgeon Craig Schmidtke.

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