Several years ago, I saw a documentary called “Can Mr. Smith Even Get To Washington Any More?”, about the attempt by a professor named Jeff Smith to win the congressional seat vacated by Dick Gephardt. Although he finished second in the Democratic primary, Smith impressed me with his boldness, his grassroots organization, and his sense of humor.
Although he lost that election, Smith didn’t fade away. In 2007, he was elected to the Missouri State Senate, where he now represents a large part of the city of St. Louis. We ran into each other a couple of months ago when I was in Las Vegas for a poker tournament and he was there for a meeting of progressive politicians. After we talked for awhile, I told him I’d like to have him on the air early this year, and today we made that happen when he joined me for an hour on KTRS/St. Louis.
We talked about some of his legislative agenda, the work he’s done in the community, the charter school he co-founded (Confluence Academy) and its place in the city’s educational system, and his annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament (and how a guy who’s 5’5″ led his team to the quarterfinals last year). I also asked Smith whether he’ll run for Kit Bond’s senate seat next year.