Chairman, Florida Democratic Party
Raised on a family farm, Rod Smith knows firsthand the true value of family and hard work. Smith graduated from public schools in Palm Beach County and worked his way through college, earning his law degree from the University of Florida and serving nearly 20 years as a labor lawyer defending working Floridians.
Smith’s career, including his service as a state attorney and state senator, has earned him a reputation for honesty and leadership. Throughout his career in the Florida Legislature, Smith successfully led efforts to protect children, fight crime and strengthen homeland security programs. Smith was one of only two Democrats who served as a Chair in the Republican-led legislature.
As a lawyer, Smith has argued on behalf of working families across the state – fighting for police officers, firefighters, electrical workers, carpenters, painters, farmers and dairy workers. His service as state attorney was noted for his successful prosecution of serial killer Danny Rolling, the "Gainesville Ripper.”
Smith was a candidate for governor in 2006 and the nominee for Lt. Governor in 2010.
His passion for politics and public service led him to the forefront of the Florida Democratic Party, where he has served as Chairman since January 2011. Under Smith’s leadership, the party won races in GOP turf in the off-year, helping Democrats pick up mayoral races in Tampa, Jacksonville and securing a mayoral re-election victory in Altamonte Springs. Democrats also won every seat on the Tampa City Council.
This year Smith is leading efforts to help Democrats recapture the state legislature and congressional seats, as well as winning Florida for Senator Nelson and President Obama.
Currently, Smith also practices law at a Gainesville firm. He and his wife, DeeDee, an attorney and advocate for child abuse victims, live on their farm in Alachua County. They have three children and two grandchildren.