Tribute to Jim Smithby Senator Mike Rounds
Posted on 2015-12-10
ROUNDS. Mr. President, today I wish to honor a great South
Dakotan on his notable accomplishments and his career, starting as an
elevator operator in the Senate. His career spanned seven decades, 10
Presidents, and 32 Congresses. To say Jim Smith is an institution in
Washington, DC, would be an understatement.
Jim Smith was born in Aberdeen, SD, but spent the majority of his childhood [[Page S8598]] in my hometown of Pierre, SD. After graduating from Pierre High School in 1948, Jim attended the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he was the quarterback for the Miners when they won a championship in 1951.
After graduating from SDM&T in 1952, Jim decided law school was the best route for him, and this South Dakota boy moved to the big city to attend George Washington School of Law in Washington, DC. Like many hard-working South Dakotans, Jim worked his way through law school, starting his career operating the very same Senate elevators we take today in the U.S. Capitol.
Jim's work ethic caught the eye of many, and he eventually moved on to work for his home State Senator, Karl Mundt. Jim worked as a legislative assistant for Senator Mundt and went on to become minority counsel on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.
After his time working on Capitol Hill, Jim began a successful career in the banking sector until he was called back to government service, this time with the U.S. Treasury where he served as Deputy Undersecretary. In 1973, Jim became the first South Dakotan appointed as Comptroller of the Currency, an office created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
Jim Smith served as Comptroller of the Currency under two Presidents and eventually left to rejoin the private sector in 1976. He went on to have a successful career partnering with another government relations professional to establish their own firm, which will continue to bear his name even after his retirement.
Jim Smith embodies the work ethic and attitude we are known for in our State. He has earned his place on the pages of South Dakota history books.
To Jim Smith and his wife of 37 years, Karen, I wish you the best on your retirement, and I thank you for your years of dedicated public service. Thank you for making South Dakota proud.