New senator profile: Jim Smith


December 31st, 2010

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Lincoln, NE – There will be six new senators when the Nebraska Legislature reconvenes January 5. Two are from the greater Omaha metro area: Democrat Burke Harr and Republican Jim Smith of Papillion. Perry Stoner of NET News has this profile of freshman Jim Smith. (Click here to listen to profiles of all six new senators)

Jim Smith is one of six new senators who'll head to the Capitol next year (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

Smith resides in Papillion, and has been a Nebraska resident for 20 years. He holds an accounting degree and a graduate degree in business from Creighton University.

“We have a great state, a great legislature,” he said in a recent interview. “One of the areas that I think we’re lacking in perspective in the Legislature is that small business perspective, and that’s what I’d like to bring.”

The small business experience comes from owning and operating Norm’s Door Service in Ralston along with his wife, Ruth. Over the years, Smith has served on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations, including the Ralston Schools Foundation and Make a Wish – Nebraska. His approach to closing the state budget gap is to trim spending. He said agency and department leaders have the in-depth knowledge of their operations to make decisions about implementing within the state’s means.

“We need to look to those leaders that have in-depth knowledge about the operations of their areas to find how they can go about working smarter with less, doing more with less, just like all businesses have to do.”

“And I say any kind of business out there is not exempt from having waste in it, and certainly government is in that same camp.”

Smith said he’s using his small business experience when calling for a leaner approach to state government spending. He said the approach can work well to change the business climate in the state, which would lead to expanding business opportunities.

“Increased government spending does lead to, often times, higher taxes and increased burdensome government regulation,” he said. “And if we can find ways to make it a better climate for business, then we can see business grow and our economy become stronger and more jobs come to our state, and grow stronger families.”

Smith replaces Senator Tim Gay who did not seek re-election.

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