Gordon Smith (born May 25, 1952) is a United States Senator from Oregon. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is also a member of the Udall political family, being a cousin of Democratic Congressmen Mo and Stewart Udall, and a second cousin of current Congressmen Mark Udall and Tom Udall (Smith is the only Republican in the group). Smith was born in Pendleton, Oregon.
Smith's family moved to Bethesda, Maryland when he was a child, because his father became an assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. After graduating high school he went on a two-year mission for his church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to New Zealand. He then went to college at Brigham Young University, attended law school at Southwestern University School of Law, in Los Angeles, and became an attorney in New Mexico and Arizona, but moved back to Oregon in the 1980s to become director of Smith Frozen Foods company in Weston, Oregon.
In 1989 he adopted a son, Morgan. Reportedly there were two pregnant mothers willing to give their children up for adoption, with Smith choosing the boy that was born first. In addition, he and his wife Sharon have a daughter, Brittany, born in 1980.
Smith entered politics and was elected to the Oregon State Senate in 1992, becoming president of that body in 1995. Later in 1995, he ran in a special election for a Senate seat vacated by the resignation of Bob Packwood, but was defeated in the January 1996 election by congressman Ron Wyden. He was able to run for the Senate again later that year, however, when Mark Hatfield announced his retirement and Smith became the Republican candidate for the regular 1996 November election. This time he won, and was soon serving as a colleague with his former political opponent, Ron Wyden. Smith also achieved political distinction by being the first person to run for the Senate twice in one year. He was reelected in 2002.
On September 8, 2003, Smith experienced a personal tragedy when his 21-year-old son, Garrett, a college culinary arts major, committed suicide. In 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, authorizing $82 million for suicide-prevention and awareness programs at colleges.
Smith has been a strong supporter of expanding hate crime laws to encompass crimes against homosexuals. On June 15, 2004, he successfully passed an amendment doing just that (65-33) with every Democrat in the Senate voting for his amendment.
Senator Smith is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem cell research.