Nick Smith was on born November 5, 1934 in Addison, Michigan and still makes his home on the fifth generation family farm there as well, where he operates a 2000 acre dairy and cash crop farm. He earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in 1957 and later went on to earn a Masters Degree in Economics from the University of Delaware in 1959. Later, he served his country as a Squadron Commander in the Civil Air Patrol and then as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Air Force before coming back home to Hillsdale County to work in the family farming business and become involved in local government; serving as Somerset Township Supervisor and then later as a Commissioner on the Hillsdale County Board of Supervisors.
In 1969, Nick became the State Chairman of the Agriculture Stabilization and Conservation Service which lead to his first job in the nation's capitol, serving as the National Energy Director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1972. While there, Nick served as a member of the Working Group of the Presidential Oil Policy Committee during the Arab oil embargo of 1972-1974.
Nick returned to Michigan in 1975 to serve as the Commissioner of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 1978, Nick was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives where he served four years before being elected to three terms in the Michigan State Senate, where he was appointed President Pro Tempore from 1983-1990.
In 1992, the people of Michigan's 7th Congressional District, which included Branch, Calhoun, Eaton, Hillsdale, Jackson, and Lenawee County, as well as portions of Barry and Washtenaw Counties, elected Nick to the U.S. House of Representatives. They have re-elected him in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002.
In the current 108th Congress, Smith serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Research and is a member of the Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards in the House Science Committee. He also sits on the House International Relations Committee; serving in the Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia and the Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Human Rights, and sits on the House Agriculture Committee; serving on the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, and the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry.
While in Congress, Nick has been dedicated to several Congressional measures vital to Michigan's 7th District and all Americans. Keeping the American homeland safe, and winning the war on terrorism currently is among his top priorities. Saving and reforming Social Security for current and future generations also remains a top priority. He continues to be at the forefront on these efforts having Chaired the Budget Committee's Bipartisan Task Force on Social Security and by sponsoring legislation that has been scored by the Actuaries of the Social Security Administration to protect Social Security's long-term solvency.
Smith has worked hard to help keep federal spending in check and pay down the national debt so it does not burden our kids and grandkids. Smith chaired the House Task Force on the Debt and sponsored the Budget Enforcement Act, which limited discretionary spending and became part of the House budget agreement. He continues to support efforts that limit federal spending to a portion of the nation's GDP. He is committed to economic growth through free and fair trade, negotiating better trade agreements, and assisting working families and taxpayers by seeking to make the tax code flatter, simpler and fairer. He has voted to end the marriage penalty tax and the estate tax and reduce marginal tax rates. Smith's Neutral Cost Recovery Act cuts taxes on business investments that will help to create jobs and income to help stimulate the economy.
He continues to give education a high priority. As Chairman of the Research Subcommittee, he has identified the need for better math and science education and finding ways to ignite students' enthusiasm for math and science to help meet the challenges of a new and emerging technological era. Smith frequently visits high school government and civics classes and reads to students at elementary schools throughout the district to emphasize the importance of reading.
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Research and with his background in agriculture, Smith has examined the issues and possibilities surrounding agricultural biotechnology and "genetically-modified products". His Chairman's report, "Seeds of Opportunity", noted biotechnology's incredible potential to enhance nutrition and health, feed a growing world population, and help protect the environment.
Also as Chairman of the Research Subcommitte, which oversees the U.S. Fire Administration, Smith has worked hard to provide for the recognition and support to our nation's first responders. The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, started in 2001 by an amendment authored by Smith, provides $900 million in competitive peer-reviewed grants to fire departments struggling to meet basic needs in telecommunications, firefighting and safety equipment, and training. Several communities in Michigan's 7th Congressional District were awarded these grants. In 2002, Nick received an award of recognition from the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) for his efforts in supporting the fire service community.
Nick is also involved in the House Policy Committee, The Republican Study Committee, and is a member of the Former State Legislative Leaders Working Group, the Congressional Fire Caucus, and the Immigration Reform Caucus.
Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized by several organizations and received numerous awards, among them include:
- "Taxpayer's Friend" from the the National Taxpayers' Union. Named most fiscally conservative member in Congress during the 100-day Contract with America.
- "Taxpayer's Hero" from Citizens Against Government Waste.
- "Tax Fighter Award" from the National Tax-Limitation Committee. Smith received an "A" rating based on an analysis of more than 1100 recorded votes.
- "Friend of the Taxpayer" from Americans for Tax Reform.
- "Golden Bulldog Award" from Watchdogs of the Treasury, Inc.
- "Thomas Jefferson Award" for efforts to balance the budget, reduce the deficit, tax and spending cuts, and legal and regulatory reform.
- "Spirit of Enterprise" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for support of pro-growth economic policies.
- "Guardian of Small Business" from the National Federation of Small Business.
- "Deficit Hawk Award" and "Honor Roll" from the Concord Coalition.
- "Champion of Private Property Rights" from the League of Private Property Voters.
- "Senior Friendly" and "Guardian of Seniors' Rights" from the 60 Plus Association.
- "National Association of Manufacturers Award" for manufacturing legislative excellence in support of American manufacturers and economic growth.
- Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) award for efforts in supporting the fire service community.
- "Presidential Award for Leadership" from the National Farmers Union for efforts to target farm payments to family farmers during the 2002 farm bill process.
Among his accomplishments include:
- Black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do
- State Star Farmer from FFA
- Honorary FFA State Farmer
- Fellowship, University of Delaware
- Outstanding Young Men of America
- Kellogg Foundation Agricultural Fellowship
- 1988 Conservator of the Year for Farm Stewardship
- Michigan State University Scholarship
- Commandant's Award for Scholastics, United States Air Force
- National Superior Service Award, Director of Energy Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Nick is married to his wife Bonnie. They have four children and ten grandchildren.