||This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. (March 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|18th Secretary of State of Florida|
January 7, 1975 – July 19, 1978
|Preceded by||Dorothy Glisson|
|Succeeded by||Jesse J. McCrary, Jr.|
|Member of the Florida Senate
from the 9th District
November 7, 1972 – November 5, 1974
|Succeeded by||Mattox Hair|
October 3, 1943 |
|Alma mater||Yale University
University of Florida
In 1974, he was elected Secretary of State. Once in office, Smathers reformed election laws, modernized the Division of Corporations, became involved in the "Atocha" treasure dispute, expanded support for cultural affairs, and was best known as leader of the successful effort to preserve Florida's Old Capitol (1845–1978). At the time he took office, he was the youngest member of the Florida Cabinet in the twentieth century.
In July 1978, Smathers resigned to campaign for governor. He lost in the Democratic primary to Bob Graham.
Family and background
He is the younger son of George Smathers, former Congressman and U.S. Senator for Florida. After attending the St. Alban's School, Smathers earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Yale University (with honors) and a law degree from University of Florida (Florida Blue Key and Florida Law Review). A NROTC graduate, he joined Underwater Demolition Team Eleven, served with Naval Special Warfare Pacific, and was a decorated Vietnam War Veteran. After his political career, he combined law with lobbying, running family orange and automobile businesses, and became a successful investor serving on various private and charitable boards.
Smathers was college roommates with two different members of Congress. Smathers roomed with U.S. Senator Bill Nelson during undergraduate studies at Yale University. Smathers roomed with Congressman Ander Crenshaw while studying at the University of Florida College of Law.
- Jones, Maxine D.; McCarthy, Kevin M. (1993-10-01). African Americans in Florida. Pineapple Press Inc. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-1-56164-031-7. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
- "Historical Senate Journals - 1970's". Florida Senate Archive. Retrieved June 19, 2016.