Barbara McIlvaine Smith

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Barbara McIlvaine Smith
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 156th district
In office
January 2, 2007[1] – November 30, 2010
Preceded by Elinor Z. Taylor
Succeeded by Dan Truitt
Vice President of the
West Chester Borough Council
In office
January 5, 2004 – January 2, 2006
Preceded by Diane Lebold
Succeeded by Steven Bond
Member of the
West Chester Borough Council
from the 5th Ward
In office
January 2, 2002 – January 2, 2006
Preceded by Shannon Royer
Succeeded by Carolyn Comitta
Personal details
Born (1950-04-23) April 23, 1950 (age 67)
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Other political
Republican (until 2001)
Spouse(s) widowed
Children 3 children
Residence West Chester, Pennsylvania
Alma mater West Chester University
Occupation Business Owner
Religion Quaker

Barbara McIlvaine Smith is a Democratic politician, and former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She represented the 156th District 2007 through 2010. She previously served on the West Chester, Pennsylvania Borough Council and was the Council's vice-president from 2004 to 2006. Barbara is an enrolled member of the federally recognized Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma.

Early life and career[edit]

McIlvaine Smith is a lifelong resident of Chester County, graduating from West Chester Henderson High School in 1968 and from West Chester University in 1995 with a degree in Elementary Education.[2] McIlvaine Smith taught 4th grade at Penn Wood Elementary and also environmental education at the Brandywine Valley Association.

She and her husband, Robert, incorporated their business, Brandywine Water Systems Inc., in 1980. Together they owned and operated the business until Robert's death in 2007. Their son now owns and operates the water conditioning business.[2] McIlvaine Smith was married to her late husband Robert for 35 years. They have two grown children, a son and a daughter, and one granddaughter.

West Chester Borough Council[edit]

Opposed to Chester County commissioners' attempts to raise property taxes by 36% percent and remove historic buildings to expand the courthouse, McIlvaine Smith changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run for a seat on the West Chester Borough Council,[3] and was elected in November 2001. When she was sworn in on January 2, 2002, the Council became a full Democratic body for the first time in 100 years.[4] She became the council's vice-president in 2004. During her tenure on the council, McIlvaine Smith chaired the Parks, Recreation & Environmental Protection Committee and the Public Works Committee and initiated a resolution to support Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's Growing Greener II plan.[5]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives[edit]

In 2004, McIlvaine Smith ran for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives against incumbent Republican Elinor Z. Taylor.[6]" McIlvaine Smith lost with 45 percent of the vote, but she decided to forgo running for another term on the West Chester Borough Council when her term expired in 2006 in order to seek a rematch with Taylor that November.[7]

Taylor announced in late 2005 that she would retire after the current term, and West Chester-area Republicans endorsed former West Chester Borough Councilman Shannon Royer, whom McIlvaine Smith had succeeded as Fifth Ward representative on Borough Council,[8] to replace Taylor. McIlvaine Smith formally announced on January 17 that she was running for Taylor's now open seat, and was not opposed in the Democratic primary.[9] She was endorsed by Progressive Majority, a national Political Action Committee that supports progressive politicians at the state and local levels.[10] Unofficial returns on election day initially showed that Royer had won by 19 votes, however, after the counting of provisional and absentee ballots, McIlvaine Smith was declared the winner by 23 votes, giving Democrats control of the state house for the first time in 12 years and making history as the first Native American ever elected to the legislature.[11] Pennsylvania Republicans demanded a hand recount, which ended on December 22 with Mcilivaine Smith being officially certified as the winner.[12]

She is also the majority chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Special Education.[13] In December 2007, McIlvaine Smith was one of a few lawmakers who refused to accept a pay raise from the state, saying that she would donate her additional money to charities in her district[14]

In December 2007, Shannon Royer announced his intention to challenge McIlvaine Smith for her House seat in a rematch of their closely contested 2006 campaign.[15] On November 4, McIlvaine Smith was re-elected by more than 2,000 votes.[16]

In November 2009, she announced that she would not run for re-election in 2010, saying that she was frustrated with the progress of the post-pay raise reform movement.[17]

For health reasons, the 2010 Democratic candidate withdrew, and McIlvaine Smith stepped in to run for re-election as State Representative for the 156th District. She was narrowly defeated for re-election by Republican Dan Truitt.


  1. ^ "SESSION OF 2007 191ST OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY No. 1" (PDF). LEGISLATIVE JOURNAL. Pennsylvania House of Representatives. 2007-01-02. Retrieved 2009-01-09. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Conversations". Barb's blog. Re-Elect Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith. 2006-08-06. [permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Gelb, Jonathan. "Chesco Democrats find little cheer in election; They saw gains in West Chester. With a 2-1 edge in registration, Republicans swept county row offices." Philadelphia Inquirer. November 8, 2001.
  5. ^ Barbara McIlvaine Smith's Resume. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  6. ^ Lowe, Benjamin Y. (2004-01-07). "West Chester official may challenge Taylor". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philly Online, LLC. 
  7. ^ Lowe, Benjamin Y. (2005-07-19). "Smith to forgo 2d term on board, The West Chester council member said she would devote time to running again in the 156th House District.". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philly Online, LLC. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  8. ^ Pitt, Tom. "Borough Officials, 1799-present". History: The Borough of West Chester. West Chester University. Retrieved February 20, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Candidates in the Philadelphia Suburbs The Pennsylvania Department of State has received nominating petitions from the following candidates for the state legislature. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk." Philadelphia Inquirer. March 8, 2006.
  10. ^ 2006 Elected Candidates. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  11. ^ Loviglio, Joann. "Democrats win control of Pa. House after 12 years in minority." Philadelphia Inquirer. November 28, 2006.
  12. ^ Couloumbis, Angela and Schaefer, Mari. "Recount over, but new fight begins The Chesco hand recount confirms Democrats' control. Who becomes speaker of the Pa. House is uncertain." Philadelphia Inquirer. December 22, 2006.
  13. ^ House Bio
  14. ^ Bumsted, Brad (December 6, 2007). "Freshman lawmaker refuses raise". Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  15. ^ Beideman, Don. "Lawmakers' retirements could bring changes to county politics; Art Hershey and Carole Rubley won't run again. Leaders of both parties predict heated campaigns. " Philadelphia Inquirer. December 23, 2007.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 
  17. ^ Kristie, Dan (November 24, 2009). "McIlvaine Smith out in 2010". The Daily Local News. Archived from the original on 2009-12-10. 

External links[edit]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
Elinor Z. Taylor
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 156th District
Succeeded by
Dan Truitt
Political offices
Preceded by
Diane Lebold
Vice President of the West Chester Borough Council
Succeeded by
Steven Bond
Preceded by
Shannon Royer
Member of the West Chester Borough Council for the 5th Ward
Succeeded by
Carolyn Comitta