Virginia Smith (June 30, 1911 - January 23, 2006) was an American politician, a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 1991, representing the Third Congressional District of Nebraska.
Born in Randolph, Iowa, she graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1936. For most of her adult life, she lived in Chappell, Nebraska and worked as an advocate on rural and agricultural issues. She was a Republican National Convention delegate from 1956 to 1972. Smith was elected to succeed Rep. Dave Martin in 1974, defeating her Democratic opponent by just 737 votes. She was easily re-elected in subsequent elections.
In Congress, Smith worked to guard funding for rural projects affecting her district--which spanned the western three-fourths of Nebraska--and was a vocal opponent of legislative pay increases. In 1987, she led a drive to roll back a $12,100 pay raise and refused to accept the money when her efforts failed.
Smith was a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, where she was regarded as a swing vote on many Reagan administration priorities. She was the critical vote in favor of funding the controversial MX missile in 1982 but opposed the president's request for funding the Nicaragaun rebels in 1985.
National Republicans encouraged Smith to run against Sen. J. James Exon in 1984, but she passed on the race and instread ran for re-election. She opted against running again in 1990 and was succeeded by Republican Bill Barrett.
The Virginia Smith Converter Station (near Sidney, Nebraska) and the Virginia Smith Dam on the Calamus River (near Burwell, Nebraska) are named after her. Her congressional papers are archived at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She died January 23, 2006 in Sun City West, Arizona, at the age of 94.
Preceded by: Dave Martin (R) Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska's 3rd congressional district 1975 - 1991 Succeeded by: Bill Barrett (R)