Profiles in Liberty: Tom Smith, Conservative Senate Candidate in Pennsylvania
Senate candidate Tom Smith, a former Democrat, is an accomplished businessman and a Tea Party conservative. Tom still lives on the farm in Armstrong County where he grew up. After high school, he postponed college to help his father tend that farm and supplemented his income by driving a school bus. After a few years, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Saundy, started a family, and went to work in a local surface coal mine.
In 1989, Tom entered the coal business himself. He succeeded, building a series of companies in a highly regulated industry. When he sold the companies in 2010, they were mining more than a million tons of coal each year.
Now, Tom wants to re-claim for Republicans the seat Sen. Bob Casey took from Rick Santorum in 2006. Follow him on Twitter @TomSmithforPA.
Matt Naugle: You were a registered Democrat from age 18 until August 2011. As a Democrat, you were elected official Plumcreek Township and were a member of the United Mine Workers. Now, you’re a major donor to Republican candidates and a Tea Party leader. How did you become a conservative?
Tom Smith: I’ve always been a conservative and supported pro-growth and pro-freedom candidates and causes. My father and mother were registered Democrats, so when I was 18 I registered the same out of respect for them. It was over the years, while building a family and starting a business I became more and more vocal with my conservative views.
MN: You went from working on your father’s farm and driving a bus to running a 100,000 tons/month coal mining operation. Do you agree with President Obama that you did not build the company?
TS: President Obama, like Senator Casey, simply don’t understand how the economy works and how jobs are created. I strongly disagree with the president. I mortgaged everything in hopes that I could build a better life for my family and community by going into business for myself.
MN: How much has the EPA and President Obama’s war on coal harmed the economy of Pennsylvania?
TS: We’re losing jobs by the day. The Obama-Casey war on coal is one of the most disastrous, job-killing policies I have seen in my more than five decades of work experience. Not only does the coal industry provide direct jobs for Pennsylvanians, but our future prosperity requires an affordable and abundant source of domestic energy – we need an all of the above approach.
MN: Is Sen. Casey, who claims to be pro-life, helpful to the pro-life cause?
TS: No, Senator Casey supported measure like ObamaCare, then tried to claim he would support repeal of the taxpayer-funded abortions. Additionally, Casey opposed defunding Planned Parenthood. Senator Casey’s record has consistently failed to respect the sanctity of life.
TS: I have signed Governor Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Simply put, our government has a spending addiction, not a revenue shortage. By simplifying the tax code and lowering the worlds highest corporate tax, we will promote the economic expansion necessary to create jobs and increase revenues.
The accusations were misleading and the record clearly shows Plumcreek Township had some of the lowest taxes in the state. Our small rural community ran a tight budget and I am proud of my service.
MN: How active is the PA Tea Party and where are activists focusing their efforts?
TS: Pennsylvania is filled with grassroots activists who share our concern for the future of our country. I’m proud to have their support, and confident that their activism will play an important role in 2012, as it did in 2010.
MN: Who in the Congress do you most admire and hope to work with?
TS: There are many members of Congress I admire greatly, like our own Senator Toomey. I enjoyed meeting with Senator Ron Johnson, he and I share a similar story as lifelong business people who have a keen understanding of how jobs are created
MN: What’s your favorite book?
TS: The Bible
MN: Favorite movie?
MN: With seven children and eight grandchildren, what is the one lesson you want them all to learn?
TS: I hope I’ve instilled in my children, the same values that were passed on to me by my parents –among them, “Hard Work” - that in this great nation, if you work hard, you should have the opportunity to live the American Dream.
That is why I am running, to preserve that same opportunity for future generations.
MN: Final words of wisdom from Tom Smith?
TS: President Obama, Senator Casey and their liberal special interest friends aren’t going to surrender Pennsylvania without a fight. I’d encourage your readers to visit our campaign website, www.tomsmithforsenate.com, to see how they can help defeat Barack Obama and return the Senate to conservative hands.