Jamaica, New York , United States
|| April 18, 1945
Feb 11, 2019 05:33pm
Anti-Death Penalty - Pro-Choice - Convicted - Catholic -
|Info||Senator Ada L. Smith, currently in her eighth term as State Senator, was elected to the powerful position of Conference Chair by her Senate Democratic colleagues. In her new post, Senator Smith will work closely with newly-elected Senate Minority Leader David A. Paterson to carry out conference policies. |
Traditionally, the Conference Chair is charged with calling and presiding over all conference meetings; notifying members of such meetings; and most importantly, setting the agenda for the conference meetings in cooperation with the Minority Leader.
Senator Smith's strong public policy and legislative background has led to the natural progression of securing this important leadership post. She has worked very hard to bring about unity in the Democratic conference and to advance a progressive agenda.
Earning the reputation as an outspoken and tireless advocate for many different social and economic concerns facing her Queens constituents, Senator Smith has dedicated more than four decades of her life to community organizing and public service. In her role as a State legislator, Senator Smith combines a deep commitment to the needs of her community with a keen understanding of the operations of all levels of government.
As one of only three African-American female members of the Senate, Senator Smith has worked throughout her tenure to advance equal opportunity for all New Yorkers, with a particular emphasis on improving New York's educational system, expanding access to quality health care, enhancing services for the elderly and disabled, and developing a more equitable tax policy to benefit New York's working people and families.
A graduate of both New York City public schools and CUNY's Baruch College, Senator Smith has fought vigorously to reform education aid formulas that shortchange City schools and to ensure that more New Yorkers have access to an affordable, quality college education. She has strenuously opposed cuts in school aid and tuition assistance, and was an early advocate for the creation of a college tuition savings program aimed at helping families put aside money for their children's future education. In addition, Senator Smith, through her work with the New York State Black and Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus, has helped to provide scholarship money to local youth.
The Senator is strongly committed to providing better health care for all New Yorkers. In addition to fighting health care budget cuts, she has long supported legislation to ensure that quality patient care, rather than HMO and insurance company profits, remains the top priority in New York's rapidly changing health care system. Senator Smith, well known in her community as a vigorous advocate for senior citizens, was also a leader in passing landmark legislation to significantly expand the State's Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program to provide affordable prescription medication to even more seniors. Furthermore, Senator Smith is fighting for legislation that would cap the out of pocket expenses on prescription drugs for Seniors enrolled in EPIC.
Senator Smith has worked hard to enhance economic development efforts in her district, including the revitalization of Jamaica Avenue in Queens. To help local families and working people, she also fought successfully to make New York's STAR tax relief program fairer to New York City residents.
Born in Amherst County, Virginia, Senator Smith is the only child of the late Lillian and Thomas Smith. Prior to her election to the Senate, she served as Deputy City Clerk of the City of New York.
In honor of her many accomplishments as an elected official and community activist, the Senator has received many awards, including the Baruch College "Outstanding Achievement Award," CUNY's "President's Medal," the "Arriba Juntos Community Service Award," the National Women's Political Caucus "Leadership Award," the Kings County Young Democrats "Legislator of the Year," and the Public Employees Federation "Special Achievement Award." Senator Smith is also a member of the Executive Board of the NBCSL; a life member of the NAACP; and has been listed in "Who's Who in America."
In addition to serving as Conference Chair, Senator Smith is also a Trustee and Life Director of the Baruch College Fund. Senator Smith also served as the first female and only Black president of the Baruch College Alumni Association.