Colleagues bid farewell to Senator Will Smith (D- District 20) Thursday as he departed the Senate Chamber for service in Afghanistan as a part of Operation Resolute Support. Smith, a United States Navy Reservist, is expected to be deployed until around Thanksgiving
Several Senators paid tribute to Smith and wished him well as he departed. Jokingly, Smith’s seatmate Senator Bill Ferguson (D- District 46) noted: “I’ve had some tough breakups in my life and there have been moments where I can be a difficult person… But apparently sitting next to me on the Senate Floor has created the opportunity for someone to think that going on a combat mission to Afghanistan would be better than continuing the rest of the session.”
On a more serious note, Senator Johnny Ray Salling (R- District 6) said a prayer for the safety of Smith and Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R- District 7) expressed respect for Smith saying: “You’re our friend, you’re our brother, and we want you to know we want you to be safe and take care of yourself.”
Smith left the Chamber noting his commitment to service and to the democratic process. He stated: “My experience in the military has given me renewed faith in international organizations and their ability to resolve conflict peacefully. So I’m proud to be supporting the mission as we move forward.” He concluded: “From the End-of-Life Options Act to the minimum wage and overriding vetoes, this is all part of the experiment. It’s the honor of a lifetime to partake in that experiment and that maintenance of democracy with all of you.”
An attorney by profession, Smith has served in the Maryland General Assembly since his election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014. He was subsequently appointed to the Maryland Senate in December of 2016 following the election of then Senator Jamie Raskin to the United States Congress. Reelected to the Maryland Senate in the 2018 elections, Smith began his tenure as Vice Chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session.
Smith’s legislative office will remain open throughout his deployment to address constituent requests and concerns.