State Senate honors former legislator Linda Smith

Senate resolution recognizes Smith’s advocacy for the victims of human trafficking

The Washington State Senate today passed a resolution honoring Linda Smith, a former state legislator and member of Congress who began and continues to lead a world and nationwide fight against child sex trafficking after she left politics.

Senate Resolution 8680 is sponsored by 4th District Sen. Mike Padden, who served with Smith when both were in the state House of Representatives in the 1980s.

“Linda Smith is a true inspiration to many because of her years of service to the people of our state, both as a legislator and as a member of Congress, and because of her strong dedication to fighting sex trafficking across the world,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley.

“Linda left such a positive mark on politics, both in our Washington and the other Washington, because of her steadfast conservative principles. But her greatest accomplishment came after she left politics when she started Shared Hope International to stop the scourge of child-sex trafficking and help trafficking survivors. Linda is still very active with Shared Hope as she continues to battle child sex trafficking. The positive footprint that Linda has left, both in our state and globally, will be remembered, admired and appreciated for years to come,” added Padden.

After Smith and her husband started a group of tax-preparation offices in southwest Washington, she won a special election in 1983 to become a member of the state House of Representatives. Four years later, Smith joined the state Senate after winning yet another special election, this time in 1987. During her time in the Senate, Smith helped sponsored legislation to benefit children, families, the elderly and agriculture.

In the early 1990s, Smith promoted two state initiatives approved by Washington voters. In 1992, she helped lead Initiative 134, which reformed campaign finance laws. A year later,  she was the principal force behind I-601, which limited state spending. She organized the Initiative after being blocked in trying to get the spending limit through the state Senate.

In 1994, Smith was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from the 3rd Congressional District after scoring a historic primary victory as a write-in candidate. During her four years in Congress, Smith helped lead on issues such as her “Clean Up Congress Act,” her bipartisan effort to defeat the historic influence that tobacco had in Congress.

Smith also helped end the practice of congressional leaders passing out special interest PAC checks on the floor of Congress, pushed for a balanced budget amendment, chaired the Small Business Committee on Small Business Taxation, worked to lower taxes, reduced regulations on small-business owners, and was a leader on international human rights.

After serving in Congress, Smith started Shared Hope International, an organization that seeks to prevent child-sex trafficking, restore worth and dignity to those caught in the child sex trade, and bring justice to victims and education and prevention tools to the public. In 2001, she formed the War Against Trafficking Alliance, an organization to coordinate regional and international efforts to fight sex trafficking. Smith is still very involved with Shared Hope International.

Smith has devoted herself to being a voice for those who may not have one, seeking prevention, justice and restoration for families and communities affected by sex trafficking. She has written and published numerous books and articles to advocate for victims and educate people about sex trafficking.