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Adam Smith
Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded by Mike Rogers
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2019
Preceded by Buck McKeon
Succeeded by Mac Thornberry
Chair of the House Armed Services Committee
In office
January 3, 2019 – January 3, 2023
Preceded by Mac Thornberry
Succeeded byMike Rogers
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th district
Assumed office
January 3, 1997
Preceded by Randy Tate
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 33rd district
In office
January 14, 1991 – January 3, 1997
Preceded byEleanor Lee
Succeeded by Julia Patterson
Personal details
David Adam Smith

(1965-06-15) June 15, 1965 (age 59)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Sara Bickle-Eldridge
( m. 1993)
Education Fordham University ( BA)
University of Washington ( JD)
Website House website

David Adam Smith (born June 15, 1965) is an American politician and retired attorney serving as the U.S. representative for Washington's 9th congressional district. A member of the Democratic Party, Smith previously served in the Washington State Senate.

A graduate of the University of Washington School of Law, Smith briefly worked as a prosecutor and pro tem judge for the city of Seattle before entering politics. Smith was elected to the State Senate in 1990; at age 25, he was the youngest state senator in the country. He ran in and won his first congressional race in 1996, and has been reelected 11 times. Since 2019, he has chaired the House Armed Services Committee. Smith is a member of the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He is the dean of Washington's House delegation.

Early life and education

Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in SeaTac, Washington, Smith was adopted as an infant by Lelia June (née Grant) and his maternal uncle Ben Martin Smith III. [1] [2] He attended Bow Lake Elementary and Chinook Middle School before graduating from Tyee High School in 1983. In high school, Smith participated in the Close Up Washington civic education program. His father, who worked for United Airlines as a ramp serviceman and was active in the Machinists' Union, died when Smith was 19. [3]

Smith attended Western Washington University in Bellingham for a year before graduating from Fordham University in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. He completed a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington in 1990. He worked his way through college by loading trucks for United Parcel Service.

Early career

After law school, Smith worked as a private practice attorney with Cromwell, Mendoza & Belur. From 1993 to 1995, he served as a prosecutor for the city of Seattle. In 1996, he worked temporarily as a pro tem judge.

U.S. House of Representatives


Smith served in the Washington State Senate from 1991 to 1997. He was 25 years old at the time of his election in 1990, defeating a 13-year incumbent Republican, Eleanor Lee, to become the nation's youngest state senator. Smith won his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996 by defeating another incumbent Republican, Randy Tate. Smith has been reelected 12 times since without serious opposition, as what was originally drawn as a "fair fight" district turned into a fairly safe Democratic seat.

For his first seven terms, Smith represented a district that straddled Interstate 5, from Renton through Tacoma to just outside of Olympia. Smith's district was significantly redrawn after the 2010 census. It absorbed much of southeast Seattle as well as most of the Eastside. As a result, it became the state's first with a majority of residents who are racial or ethnic minorities. [4] It is also the state's second-most Democratic district; only the neighboring 7th district, which covers the rest of Seattle, is more Democratic. For the 2012 election, Smith moved from his longtime home in Tacoma to Bellevue.

Adam Smith and Barack Obama at a campaign rally at Seattle's KeyArena, February 8, 2008.

Smith has been a leader in moderate " New Democrats" organizations. He chairs the political action committee of the New Democrat Coalition. [5]

On October 10, 2002, Smith was among the 81 Democratic members of the House to vote to authorizing the invasion of Iraq. [6] In March 2012, he said that U.S. troops had done "amazing work" in Afghanistan and that it was "time to bring the troops home". [7]

In 2006, Smith won his sixth term in Congress against Republican Steve Cofchin, with 65.7% of the vote to Cofchin's 34.3%. [8]

In April 2007, Smith supported Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. [9] He also appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews speaking for Obama. The same year, he also appeared on The Colbert Report, in the show's 434-part series known as "Better Know A District".

Smith voted against the Protect America Act of 2007, which has been criticized for violating Americans' civil liberties by allowing wiretapping without issued warrants. [10] But in 2008, he voted for a similar bill, the FISA Amendment Act of 2008 (FAA), reauthorizing many of the provisions in the expired Protect America Act, leading critics like the ACLU to call it "an unconstitutional bill that would significantly modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act", granting expansive new monitoring powers to the executive branch with very little court oversight. The FAA also ensured the dismissal of all pending cases against telecommunication companies for their previous illegal spying on American citizens on behalf of the Executive Branch. [11] [12] [13] Smith also voted for the 2001 Patriot Act and to extend the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. [14]

In 2008, Smith won a seventh term in the House, defeating James Postma, a 74-year-old retired engineer running on a pro-nuclear power platform, with 65% of the vote. [15]

On December 16, 2010, Smith defeated Silvestre Reyes and Loretta Sanchez to become the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee after Chairman Ike Skelton was defeated for reelection. In the first round, Sanchez and Smith earned 64 votes with Reyes earning 53. In the runoff, Smith defeated Sanchez by 11 votes. [16]

In 2011, recognized for his work in fighting global poverty, Smith became only the second member of Congress selected for the Borgen Project's board of directors. [17] The same year, he argued against cuts that could "jeopardize our national security" and leave the U.S. "more vulnerable to nuclear terrorism". [18]

Smith as a representative during the 109th Congress

In 2001, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), [19] which gave the president authority to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against those who committed and aided the September 11 attacks. While this power has been rarely used to detain persons in the U.S., Smith introduced a bill to ensure that anyone detained on U.S. soil under the AUMF has access to due process and the federal court system. [20] The bill also prohibits military commissions and indefinite detention for people detained in the U.S. and affirms that any trial proceedings "shall have all the due process as provided for under the Constitution".

Smith and Representative Mac Thornberry co-sponsored an amendment to the fiscal 2013 defense spending bill reversing previous bans on disseminating Defense and State Department propaganda in the U.S., reversing the Smith–Mundt Act of 1948 and the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1987, designed to protect U.S. audiences from government misinformation campaigns. [21] The bill passed on May 18, 2012, 299 to 120. [22]

Smith voted with President Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time in the 117th Congress, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis. [23]

In December 2023, Smith introduced the End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act of 2023 to the House. This legislation would require hedge funds to sell at least 10% of the single-family homes they own each year over a 10-year period. After this period, hedge funds will be banned from owning any single-family homes. [24]


Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

In 1993, Smith married Spokane native Sara Bickle-Eldridge, a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law. Their daughter, Kendall, was born in July 2000, followed by their son, Jack, in June 2003. [1]

Smith has talked openly about his struggles with anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. [35] He wrote about it at length in his 2023 memoir Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety. [36]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Biography - U.S. Congressman Adam Smith". Office of U.S. Congressman Adam Smith. Archived from the original on September 7, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "(David) Adam Smith". Archived from the original on October 18, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Remarks by Representative Adam Smith (D-WA) at the Democratic National Convention, July 27, 2004", where he said: "It was only because of my father's union and the benefits he had worked a lifetime to secure that my family could continue to pay the bills so that I could finish my education." [1][ permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Re-elect U.S. Rep. Adam Smith in Washington's 9th Congressional District". The Seattle Times. July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "H.J.Res. 114 (107th): Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002". GovTrack. October 10, 2002. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  7. ^ Hotakainen, Rob (March 20, 2012). "U.S. Rep. Adam Smith joins calls to bring troops home from Afghanistan". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on June 12, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  8. ^ "2006 General Election Results". Washington Office of the Secretary of State. Archived from the original on February 5, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  9. ^ Connelly, Joel (April 12, 2007). "Obama lands a key backer in Adam Smith". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  10. ^ "S. 1927 (110th): Protect America Act of 2007". GovTrack. August 4, 2007. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  11. ^ "Talking Points on the FISA Amendments Act of 2008". American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  12. ^ "FISA Court Opinion Outlines FBI Abuse of Key Intelligence Surveillance Authority". Center for Democracy and Technology. September 4, 2020. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  13. ^ Serwer, Adam. "Members of Congress Who Reauthorized Warrantless Wiretapping Bill Don't Understand What It Does". Mother Jones. Retrieved November 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "Adam Smith (D-Wash.)". The Washington Post. July 23, 2012. Archived from the original on September 20, 2018. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  15. ^ "Local and National Election Results - Election Center 2008 - Elections & Politics". CNN. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  16. ^ DiMascio, Jen (December 16, 2010). "Smith wins Armed Services post". Politico. Retrieved January 5, 2012.
  17. ^ "Congressman Adam Smith Joins The Borgen Project". The Borgen Project Blog. August 21, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2012 – via Blogger.
  18. ^ Smith, Adam; Visclosky, Pete (March 1, 2011). "Funding cuts jeopardize nuclear non-proliferation". The Hill. Retrieved October 5, 2012.
  19. ^ Garrison, Robert (March 19, 2012). "County Commissioners hear from Concerned Citizens". The Lamar Ledger. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  20. ^ Song, Kyung M. (March 13, 2012). "Smith proposes bill seeking to try terror suspects in civilian courts". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  21. ^ Hastings, Michael (May 18, 2012). "Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  22. ^ Pincus, Walter (May 18, 2012). "House approves $642.5 billion defense bill". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  23. ^ Bycoffe, Aaron; Wiederkehr, Anna (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  24. ^ Bellino, Kate (December 5, 2023). "Merkley, Smith Lead Bicameral Action to Ban Hedge Fund Ownership of Residential Housing". Merkley. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  25. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 117". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. April 18, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  26. ^ "H.R.5736 - 112th Congress (2011-2012): Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012". May 10, 2012. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  27. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 412". Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives. July 24, 2013. Retrieved June 20, 2021.
  28. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  29. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  30. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  31. ^ "United States House Afterschool Caucus Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  32. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  33. ^ "Members". U.S.-Japan Caucus. Archived from the original on September 7, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  34. ^ "Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute".
  35. ^ Smith, Adam (August 5, 2023). "Perspective | A congressman's story of anxiety, pain and struggling to get help". Washington Post. ISSN  0190-8286. Retrieved August 8, 2023.
  36. ^ Smith, Adam (2023). Lost and Broken: My Journey Back from Chronic Pain and Crippling Anxiety. Simon Schuster. ISBN  978-0757324628.


  • The Almanac of American Politics 2004. Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 2003.
  • Pierce County Official Local Voters' Pamphlet (Pierce County Auditor, 2012).

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Washington's 9th congressional district

Preceded by Chair of the House Armed Services Committee
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the New Democrat Coalition
Served alongside: Jim Davis, Ron Kind
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by