Kevin Smith

Executive Director

Arkansas Delta Council and Foundation

Stuttgart


Kevin Smith

In 1993, just out of his 20s, Kevin Smith of Stuttgart found himself serving the state Senate as the youngest member of that body. Now 35, Smith has a run for the U.S. Senate under his belt and is heading the Arkansas Delta Council and Foundation.

"I'm in public service for a very selfish reason," Smith says. "I have to feel like I've made big impact. There's no better feeling in the world. That's what motivates me."

As executive director of the Arkansas Delta Council, Smith lobbies Congress for the preservation and economic development of one of the poorest regions of the county the lower Mississippi Delta.

Smith was reared in Helena. He says he understands the region and has become increasingly interested in helping the Delta grow since his Work as the director of government affairs for the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission in the late 1980s.

Then-Gov. Bill Clinton, who was chairman of the commission, hired Smith to coordinate all research, programs and legislative tasks.

Smith's first job out of college in 1984 was a newspaper editor at Helena's Phillips County Progress. He left a year later to work for Sen. Dale Bumpers in Washington, D.C.

In 1996, with the retirement of U.S. Sen. David Pryor, Smith ran for the Democratic nomination to the seat. Though unsuccessful, he says he earned his master's degree in politics as a result of the experience.

Despite Bumpers' announced retirement, Smith says he's going to stick to running for reelection to the state Senate seat he's held for five years.