Norma Smith has one year left as a member of the Washington State House of Representatives and she isn’t going to take it easy.
Smith, a Clinton resident, announced March 4 that she will not seek re- election in November for the 10th Legislative District position she’s held since 2008. A Republican known for bipartisanship, Smith said she will be busy over the next week helping to negotiate the capital budget and championing data privacy bills before the session ends.
Smith said it has been an honor serving her district.
“I have poured everything I have into our communities and sound legislation, and I feel like we have accomplished so much together,” she said. “I now look forward to the next season of life and the new doors of opportunity opening to once again focus on teaching and mentoring. I am looking forward to renewing this life-long vision of investing in the hearts, minds and faith journey of another generation.”
Smith said she’s been planning on announcing her retirement “for quite some time.” Four other candidates have filed for her seat with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
In recent years, Smith has focused much of her time on improving the state’s mental health services and crafting bills to protect people’s data privacy, an issue she said will have “profound impacts on people’s lives.”
Smith is critical of the Senate’s version of the data bill but admitted that getting anything meaningful passed is an uphill battle.
“I’ll try my best,” she said, “but the lobbying effort is immense on behalf of Big Data.”
Smith is the ranking Republican on the House Innovation, Technology and Economic Development Committee and the assistant ranking Republican on the House Capital Budget Committee. She also serves on the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.
The district’s other representative, Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, said Smith welcomed him to the House when he took office last year. They collaborated on securing $1 million in state historic preservation grants for the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve and protecting ferry services.
“She is well respected on both sides of the aisle for her hard-work, grace and civility,” he said. “I will personally miss her friendship and counsel on the House floor.”
Smith was first appointed to the position in January 2008 and went on to win the race that November. Prior to serving in the House, she served on the South Whidbey School Board and was special assistant to U.S. Congressman Jack Metcalf.