About Denny Smith
Dennis Alan "Denny" Smith (born January 19, 1938) is a businessman and former United States congressman from the state of Oregon. A native of the state, he served in the Air Force before working in the airline industry and taking over the family's newspaper business. A Republican, he served ten years in Congress from 1981 until 1991. His father was former Oregon Governor Elmo Smith.
Dennis Smith was born in the Eastern Oregon city of Ontario, Oregon, on January 19, 1938. In 1956, he graduated from Grant Union High School in John Day and enrolled at Willamette University in Salem. He joined the United States Air Force in 1958, and served until 1960 when he joined the Oregon Air National Guard. Smith then earned a bachelor of arts degree from Willamette in 1961. He returned to the Air Force in 1962 and remained there until 1967, serving as a fighter pilot in the Vietnam war. In the war he flew the F-4C Phantom and completed about 180 missions. Smith remained in the aviation field as a flight engineer and co-pilot for a commercial airline, flying from 1967 until 1976. In 1968, he also took over the family's newspaper business when his father died. He worked for Pan American Airlines, and in 1974 was chosen by fellow employees to serve as the union's lobbyist in Washington, DC. He was inducted into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor in 2009.
Smith was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1980 to represent Oregon's 2nd congressional district as a Republican. He defeated 12-term Democrat Al Ullman by only 3,700 votes. Smith was undoubtedly helped by Ronald Reagan winning every county in the sprawling district. When the 1980 census gave Oregon another congressional district, Smith's home in Salem was placed in the newly created 5th district. He was elected from this district in 1982 and was reelected three more times. Smith Budget Committee, the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, and the Veterans' Affairs Committee.
In 1990, Smith was upset by Democrat Mike Kopetski. Kopetski, who lost to Smith by 707 votes in the 1988 election, attacked Smith for his ties to several collapsed savings and loans. While still serving in Congress, Smith established and headed Oregonians Against Crime, which placed Oregon's 1988 Anti-crime Bill on the ballot by initiative petition and successfully campaigned for its passage. In 1994, Smith was the Republican nominee for Oregon governor, losing to Democrat John Kitzhaber.
Later years and family
Smith married Sandra in 1962, and was divorced in 1967 after the couple had one son. He soon married Kathleen Barrett, and they had three children and divorced in 1986. He married Deanna Marie Koenig in 1989. Smith is now the chairman of Eagle Newspapers, a printing and publishing company in the Pacific Northwest. The only son of former Oregon Governor Elmo Smith and his wife Dorothy, he is also a cousin of Steven Symms, a former congressman and Senator from Idaho.