Shirley A. Smith was elected to the Ohio House of Representative for her fourth term in November 2004, representing District 10 in Cleveland. Representative Smith has proven to be a strong advocate for District 10, working in a bipartisan way to pass the most controversial legislation and securing millions in appropriations for projects in the area. Representative Smith serves on Juvenile and Family Law, Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities committees and is the Ranking Minority Member on the House Health Committee.
As a State Representative, she works to advocate both for the issues of her Cleveland area district, and for the political issues facing the disenfranchised across the state of Ohio. Her genuine concern for the socially and economically disadvantaged is demonstrated through the bills she has championed as a legislator. As the 126th General Assembly begins, Representative Smith continues to focus on creating a Capital Case Commission to study the death penalty, while also championing legislation which addresses term limits, HIV/AIDS, prison reform and obesity. She has also been appointed to the Joint Legislative Committee on Health Care Oversight and the State Criminal Sentencing Advisory Committee.
Representative Smith began her career, not in government, but in the field of communications. She started as a radio talk show host for a major radio station in Cleveland, before moving on to television. Working for a network affiliate, she served in a variety of capacities, including promotions and public relations. While at the radio station, Representative Smith interviewed prominent politicians and community leaders, discussing a range of government and community-based issues. As a former talk show host and promotions rep, she exhibited a unique ability to communicate effectively both behind the scenes and over the airwaves. She has been featured in Cleveland Magazine for her achievements as a legislator and in the Crusader for her work against the application of the death penalty.
Her professional experience in communications has given her a solid, yet diverse background, making it possible for Rep. Smith to successfully interact and dialogue with her constituents. "The political arena is one area where I use my interpersonal skills to articulate the needs of the people in order to obtain successful outcomes," said Smith.
As one of eleven children and as a mother and grandmother, "I continue to maintain a strong belief that one should do all he or she can do to help their fellow man. It is from these relationships that I first learned to truly understand the meaning of diplomacy and the democratic process," said Smith.
For the past seven years, in addition to her position in the state legislature, Representative Smith also worked for the Cleveland Coca-Cola Bottling Company as a Brand Development Manager, responsible for marketing and public relations in Cuyahoga County. She now serves as an independent consultant for Coca-Cola.
As a native of Cleveland, Ohio Representative Smith attended Cleveland Public Schools and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and an Associate Degree from Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College, respectively.
Representative Smith loves to golf whenever she gets the opportunity.