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Steven H. Smith

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Steven H. Smith
Steven H Smith.jpg
Bellingham Board of Directors, Position 4
Term ends
November 2017
Years in position 6
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 5, 2013
First electedNovember 3, 2009
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sWestern Washington University
Master'sOklahoma State University
Ph.D.Arizona State University
Office website
Steven H. Smith currently represents Position 4 on the Bellingham Board of Directors in Washington. He was first elected to the board in 2009. Smith won re-election against challenger John H. Blethen on November 5, 2013. He campaigned for improved student performance in reading, math and science as well as continued board outreach to parents.


Smith earned his B.B.A. in Accounting from Iowa State University. He later earned an M.S. in Accounting from Oklahoma State University and Ph.D. from Arizona State University. Smith has been an accounting professor at Western Washington University since 1999. He and his wife have two children who have graduated from district schools.[1]



See also: Bellingham School District elections (2013)


Smith sought re-election against challenger John H. Blethen on November 5, 2013.


General election
Bellingham Board of Directors, Four-year term, Position 4, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSteven H. Smith Incumbent 53.5% 14,725
     Nonpartisan John H. Blethen 46.5% 12,779
Total Votes 27,504
Source: Whatcom County Elections, "November 5, 2013 General Election," November 26, 2013

Smith won the August 6, 2013 primary for the Position 4 seat on the board. Smith and challenger John H. Blethen advanced to the November 5, 2013 general election.

Bellingham Board of Directors, Primary, Position 4, August 6, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSteven H. Smith Incumbent 53.1% 6,904
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngJohn H. Blethen 29.2% 3,791
     Nonpartisan Hue Beattie 17.7% 2,305
Total Votes 13,000
Source: Whatcom County Elections


Smith received the endorsement of The Bellingham Herald for the August 6, 2013 primary and the November 5, 2013 general election.[2][3]


Smith reported no contributions or expenditures to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.[4]


Smith first won election to the board on November 3, 2009 against fellow challenger Rogan Jones.

Bellingham Board of Directors, Position 4, November 3, 2009
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngSteven H. Smith 52.9% 10,996
     Nonpartisan Rogan Jones 47.1% 9,786
Total Votes 20,782
Source: Whatcom County Elections

Campaign themes


Smith provided the following statement for the Local Voters' Pamphlet in Whatcom County:[1]

"Our schools should be places that our children are safe to explore new ideas, inspired to reach their highest potential, and provide a multi-faceted education. Each child should have an education that enhances their unique strengths, which means that the curriculum should provide a solid foundation and yet be flexible enough to meet individual student needs. Arts and music education help students develop creative thinking. Self-confidence and a strong work ethic provide students with structural integrity, so that when failures occur students are able to learn from them and carry on. Working together -educators, parents, and community - we can provide a quality education to all students. If you re-elect me as your school board member, I will continue to seek your counsel, listen to your concerns, approach issues with an open mind, and work to make Bellingham’s schools centers for academic excellence for all children.

My core beliefs for public education: A strong foundation in reading, writing, and math is imperative; Students must learn strategies to solve complex problems; Sometimes, learning requires a strong work ethic, perseverance and uninterrupted concentration; Quality teachers, staff and administrators are the most important asset of the school district."

What was at stake?

Smith ran for a second term in the Position 4 seat against challenger John H. Blethen. Scott Stockburger won re-election to the Position 5 seat without opposition.

Themes in Position 4 race

The district has experienced a 3.5% increase in enrollment between 2008 and 2012 while the district budget was cut by $1.5 million between 2011 and 2012. A major issue in the Position 4 race is the closure of Larrabee Elementary School slated for the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Smith voted along with three board members to close the school due to poor performance and long-term renovation plans for district schools. Blethen and Hue Beattie challenged Smith in the August 6, 2013 primary due to his vote on Larrabee Elementary. Stockburger was the lone vote to prevent Larrabee's closure and does not face opposition for his seat.[5]

Smith also faced a primary challenge due to his support for a $160 million bond on the November 5, 2013 ballot. The bond would support renovation of district facilities including $73 million for Sehome High School and a $17 million remodeling of district offices. Beattie believed that community involvement in renovation could bring down costs while Blethen argued for a more gradual renovation process that would not require a large bond measure.[5]

About the district

See also: Bellingham School District, Washington
Bellingham School District is located in Whatcom County, Washington
Bellingham School District is based in Whatcom County, which is situated along the border between the United States and Canada. The population of Bellingham was 80,885 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.[6]


Bellingham outperforms state averages for higher education achievement while lagging behind in median income and poverty rate. The percentage of city residents over 25 years old with undergraduate degrees (38.6%) exceeds the state average (31.4%). The 2010 U.S. Census calculated Bellingham's median income at $39,299 while the state median income was $58,890. Bellingham had a poverty rate of 22.6% in the 2010 U.S. Census while the state rate was 12.5%.[6]

Racial Demographics, 2012[6]
Race Bellingham (%) Washington (%)
White 84.9 77.3
Black or African American 1.3 3.6
American Indian and Alaska Native 1.3 1.5
Asian 5.1 7.2
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.3 0.6
Two or More Races 4.3 4.7
Hispanic or Latino 7.0 11.2

Presidential Voting Pattern[7]
Year Democratic Vote (%) Republican Vote (%)
2012 55.4 41.4
2008 58.0 40.0
2004 53.4 44.6
2000 46.1 46.5

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[8] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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