Neal Edward Smith

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Neal Edward Smith
Neal Smith politician.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by John H. Kyl
Succeeded by Greg Ganske
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1973
Preceded by Paul Cunningham
Succeeded by William J. Scherle
Personal details
Born (1920-03-23) March 23, 1920 (age 96)
Hedrick, Iowa
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Beatrix Havens

Neal Edward Smith (born March 23, 1920) was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Iowa from 1959 until 1995—the longest-serving Iowan in the United States House of Representatives. He was born in his grandparents' home near Hedrick, Keokuk County, Iowa. He served in the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War as a bomber pilot. His plane was shot down and he received a Purple Heart, nine Battle stars, and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. He received his undergraduate training at the University of Missouri and Syracuse University and received a law degree from Drake University in 1950. He was elected to the House of Representatives in the Democratic landslide of 1958, and was reelected 17 more times from a district based in Des Moines--numbered as the 5th District from 1959 to 1973 and as the 4th District from 1973 to 1995.

For most of his tenure, Smith represented a relatively compact district in central Iowa. However, the 1990s redistricting pushed him into a district covering the southwest quadrant of the state from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, an area that he did not know and that did not know him. He was defeated in the Republican landslide of 1994 by Greg Ganske, mainly due to heavy losses in the western portion of the district.

Neal Smith married Beatrix Havens and had two kids, Doug and Sharon.

The Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City, Iowa and the Neal Smith Trail in Des Moines, Iowa are both named after the former congressman. The Neal and Bea Smith Law Center at Drake University is named after the former congressman and his wife.

In 1996 Smith published his autobiography, Mr. Smith Went to Washington: From Eisenhower to Clinton.

At the time of his defeat, he had represented Iowa in Congress longer than any Democrat in the state's history; he has since been passed by Tom Harkin, who served for 40 years in both the House and Senate.

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United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Paul Cunningham
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 5th congressional district

1959–1973
Succeeded by
William J. Scherle
Preceded by
John Kyl
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Iowa's 4th congressional district

1973–1995
Succeeded by
Greg Ganske