Senator Smith will not be returning to the Virginia State Senate. The announcement came today to the sadness of many, in announcing this he has endorsed fellow Young Republican Dave Suetterlein to take over his spot in the Senate. This will be a fun and interesting race to watch. Thank you Senator Smith for your service to our Commonwealth.
Here is Senator Smith’s Press Release :
For Immediate Release
March 16, 2015
Senator Smith announces he will not seek a third term
19th District Senator endorses Legislative Director and Roanoke County GOP Chairman Dave Suetterlein to succeed him in Senate
Roanoke County, Virginia, March 16, 2015: At a news conference today, Senator Ralph K. Smith (R-Bedford County) announced he will not seek a third term representing the 19th District in the Senate of Virginia. In announcing his decision, Senator Smith endorsed the candidacy of Dave Suetterlein, his Legislative Director and the current Chairman of the Roanoke County Republican Committee, to succeed him in the Senate.
After introducing the legislative and campaign team who worked with him through his election to and service in the General Assembly, Senator Smith delivered the following remarks:
“Today, I want to express my thanks to the people of Virginia, especially those in my district who have placed their trust in me by electing me to serve as their voice – and to fight for their principles and values – in the Senate of Virginia. For a boy who grew up on Williamson Road and who started off working in a gas station, this has been an extraordinary honor.
“In so many ways, I have been blessed.
“I have been blessed with a loving and very supportive family.
“I have been blessed with strength and good health.
“I have been blessed with the opportunity to start and run my own businesses for 40 years.
“I am grateful for and humbled by the trust my customers put into me as their auto mechanic, the trust the people placed in me to serve as mayor of my hometown, and the trust they placed in me to represent Southwest Virginia in the Senate for the past eight years.
“I had a certain awe the first time I entered the Senate in January 2008. It is times like that when you fully appreciate the trust that has been placed in you, and what a privilege it is to be given the opportunity to serve.
“As Mayor, I regularly put the concerns and needs of the City first, placing the interests of the people ahead of my personal priorities. That is a standard by which I have continued to abide in the Senate.
“The people trusted me to represent their interests in the Senate. I made sure to be there and to be vigilant on their behalf every day the Senate has been in regular or special session these last eight years. And, I have placed the hard-working taxpayers foremost in my mind every single day.
“The people entrusted me to:
- Let them keep more of their hard-earned dollars by fighting unnecessary tax and fee increases;
- Allow our existing businesses to grow by working to reduce the regulatory burden;
- Defend their rights and liberties against the encroachment of a government that too often forgets it is there to serve the people and not the other way around; and
- To stand up for the traditional values held by the people of Southwest Virginia, where ‘In God We Trust,’ isn’t just the national motto, it is our way of life.
“I cherish the trust placed in me by the people. Elected officials serve at the pleasure of the people they are entrusted to represent. These assignments are inherently temporary, dependent upon the verdict handed down by voters in elections.
“Although there will be a lot of civic activism – and quite possibly another campaign – in my future, I have determined that 2015 is the best time to end my tenure in the Senate of Virginia.
“This year, I will be campaigning for an experienced and effective conservative voice to succeed me in the Senate: my friend, Dave Suetterlein.
“During the last eight years, I have trusted Dave to help direct my legislative efforts in the Senate and help the people of Southwest Virginia fight red tape. I know Dave and his family to be committed Christians, I know him to be a tireless and diligent worker, and I know him to be man with the experience to effectively advance conservative principles in Richmond. Dave has proven himself worthy of my trust, and I am confident the voters will find him worthy of their trust, too.
“Dave will be a champion for Southwest Virginia and an effective advocate for our conservative principles and traditional values. So today, I am excited about the next to which I will be lending my support, helping my friend, Dave Suetterlein, become the next Senator for Southwest Virginia.”
Senator Ralph K. Smith is serving his eighth year in the Senate of Virginia, currently representing the 19th District. The 19th District includes all of the City of Salem and Floyd County, and portions of Bedford, Carroll, Franklin, Montgomery, Roanoke, and Wythe Counties.