Effective Advocacy for the People of New Jersey
Congressman Chris Smith has a nationally recognized constituent services operation that gets results for the individual constituents and families. Chris is relentless in his pursuit of justice on behalf of the people of his district, and no problem is too big or too small for Chris and his office to tackle. And Chris put’s his same can-do attitude to work for towns, counties, and organizations across the state ensuring that they—and the state of New Jersey are getting the fair consideration for support they deserve from the federal government.
Chris Smith is the reliable first call for individual constituents experiencing a wide range of problems and difficulties. He and his staff leave no stone unturned in their efforts to advocate passionately, consistently and privately (unless otherwise requested) for the best possible outcome.
To date, Chris and his staff have intervened directly in more than 80,000 individual casework problems that his constituents have experienced with federal, state or local government agencies.
Occasionally, these interventions make headlines—David Goldman’s fight to reclaim his son from a child abductor in Brazil; the successful return of the little NJ girls trapped behind enemy line sin the midst of fighting in the former Soviet state of Georgia; or the garnering of appropriate recognition, compensation and benefits for a hero disabled in war.
However, most of the time Chris’ interventions are known only to those who benefit from them.
The Trenton Times says that, “few in Congress work harder than this representative and there must be few who do a better job of delivering services to their constituents.”
In their detailed profiles of Members of Congress, Politics in America 2014, the independent periodical Congressional Quarterly said: “His flexibility, his willingness to devote long hours to his work have kept him popular… [He] also runs one of the most effective constituent service operations in the House, and many of his initiatives grow out of casework.”
Solving Local Problems; Turning Solutions into National Policies
Chris takes lessons learned from solving individual casework matters–and helping local governments and organizations—and turns those successes into national policies. He is a trusted leader who believes passionately that government can and must help those who are struggling or have been wronged or disenfranchised by the federal government. Here are just a few examples of how Chris has worked to help on a local level or with an individual issue and then changed—i.e. improved—national policy.
In the late 90s, Billy and Bobby Gallagher of Ocean County met with Rep. Chris Smith in his Ocean County office to introduce him to their autistic children, and ask him to help them as they explored an apparent increase in the number of children with autism in their town.
Chris Smith delivered. He called in the appropriate federal agencies and pushed them to conduct an in-depth study on autism prevalence. Then he wrote legislation (the Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research & Epidemiology Act, adopted into law as Title I of the Children’s Health Act or PL 106-310) providing funding for additional collection and examination, and proper reporting on autism data from around the country. Smith’s law established regional centers of excellence in autism surveillance and epidemiology and serves as the reference point for much of federal work in autism today
Since then, Chris has authored two additional laws to help children and families touched by autism. His most recent autism legislation, the Autism CARES Act of 2014, was signed into law in August of 2014 (PL 113-157). This law builds on his previous law (The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, or PL 112-32), and reauthorizes $1.3 billion over five years for national autism programs concentrating on surveillance, medical research, early detection and intervention and services research. The law, also for the first time, mandates that the federal government examine and anticipate the needs of young adults with autism as they “age out” of the educational system and benefits that have helped them thus far.
Similarly, when David Goldman, a dad in Monmouth County, reached out to Chris for help to bring home his son (Sean) who had been kidnapped to Brazil, Chris rolled up his sleeves and pushed the federal government to get actively engaged in the fight. Chris introduced legislation (H.Res. 125—which passed the House) calling on Brazil to return Sean Goldman to the United States and urging all countries to fulfill their international treaty obligations to return abducted children. He also authored H.R. 2707 ordering the President to suspend the favorable trading status afforded to Brazil (GSP) and duty-free treatment of Brazil until Sean and all children wrongfully held in Brazil returned home. Chris organized a key congressional hearing and held several press conferences to call attention the injustice.
Within a week of meeting with David, Chris travelled to Brazil with him to press US Embassy officials and leaders in the Brazilian government and judiciary to help secure Sean’s rightful return home. In fact, it was during Chris’s first trip that David was reunited with Sean for the first time since his kidnapping five years earlier. On Chris’s second trip, David and Sean were reunited for good and both returned to Monmouth County on Christmas Eve to start the rest of their lives together—a father and son.
Following the successful reunification of the Goldman family, many left behind parents, had contacted Chris asking them to help in their case in which one parent has kidnapped the child and left the other parent behind. Chris continues to work on dozens of cases, several from New Jersey, but he has also written a new law, The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction, Prevention and Return Act (Public Law 113-150), to embolden the US State Department and give them new tools to sanction countries that do not work with the United States on behalf of American parents and children who are victims of international parental child abduction.
The Asbury Park Press noted: “His constituent service, by all accounts, is excellent… [Smith is an] able and effective legislator who belongs in the House of Representatives.”
A Proven Record of Legislative Accomplishment …
According to aggregated empirical legislative data from the Library of Congress, Congressman Smith ranks second out of all 435 current members of the House of Representatives in authoring bills that have been successfully enacted into law. He has gotten more comprehensive bills signed into law than the rest of the New Jersey Congressional delegation combined.
Chris has written more than three-dozen federal laws to help every day Americans with issues like:
- Veterans healthcare, education, compensation benefits & housing
- Autism research, treatment & support services
- Putting an end to International Parental Child Abduction and bringing American children back home
- Combating Human Trafficking
- Anti-terrorism and Embassy Security
The people of New Jersey know Chris’ record of legislative accomplishment and constituent service and have responded positively. He has been re-elected with overwhelming landslide support election after election, having not received less than 61% since his second re-election in 1984. His highest vote percentage was 69% in 2010, and in 2008, after his district saw a spike of nearly 60,000 newly registered Democratic voters, Chris, a Republican, was re-elected with a whopping 66% of the vote.
*See “Bills Signed Into Law” for a comprehensive list and additional detail
… With The Passion and Dedication To Keep Getting Results for the People of New Jersey
Chris Smith has earned the reputation of a courageous advocate for the people. Media outlets across NJ, year after year, have recognized his tenacity, calling him a “bulldog” and “veteran’s best friend” because of his tireless commitment to seeking justice and helping those who cannot help themselves. Even when Congress is, in Chris’ words, “paralyzed with gridlock,” he has the determination, experience and know-how to get bills out of Congress and to the president’s desk.
Chris continues to fight for enactment of other important, comprehensive legislation he has introduced in Congress, including:
“His can-do- attitude often sets Smith apart from his colleagues in gridlocked D.C.” –NJ Monthly Magazine, 2010
Smith was born in Rahway, New Jersey. He lives in Hamilton with his wife Marie, with whom he has four grown children. He attended TCNJ (then Trenton State College), participated in an exchange program in England, and graduated with a degree in business. Smith worked at his parents’ sporting goods store, and was president of New Jersey Right to Life.