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Vernon Smith

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Vernon Smith
Vernon Smith.jpg
Indiana House of Representatives
District 14
In office
1990 - present
Term ends
November 5, 2014
Years in position 25
Base salary$22,660.46/year
Per diem$152/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 1990
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sIndiana University, 1966
Master'sIndiana University, 1969
J.D.Indiana University, 1978
Date of birthApril 11, 1944
Office website
Vernon Smith (b. April 11, 1944) is a Democratic member of the Indiana House of Representatives, representing District 14. He was first elected to the chamber in 1990. He previously served on the Gary City Council from 1972 to 1990.

Smith's professional experience includes working as an Assistant Professor of Education at Indiana University Northwest, Principal of Gary Community Schools, and teacher.

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Smith served on the following committees:

Indiana Committee Assignments, 2013
Local Government


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Smith served on these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Smith served on these committees:


Legislative walkout

Smith and 36 other Democratic representatives participated in a legislative walkout on February 22, 2011, in opposition to proposed legislation limiting union powers in Indiana. The Democratic departure left the House void of a quorum, leaving only 58 of the 67 representatives needed to establish a quorum.[1] Terri Austin, Steven Stemler and Vanessa Summers stayed behind to provide, if necessary, a motion and a seconding motion, which would enable them to stop any official business from proceeding should the Republicans try to do so.[1]

On March 7, 2011, House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer revealed the Democratic caucus' hideout to be the Comfort Suites in Urbana, Illinois.[2] According to the Indiana Constitution, Article 4, sections 11 and 14, the House may enforce fines and other methods to compel absent members to return. Beginning on March 7, 2011, each Democrat was subject to a fine of $250, to be withheld from future expense or salary payments, for each day they were not present in the statehouse.[3] Regarding their actual pay, House Speaker Brian Bosma announced that the 37 lawmakers were required to be physically present in the chambers to receive their per diem payment of $152/day.[2] This move came as a result of the approximated $40,000 in per diem payments automatically made to the legislators during their first seven days of absence. According to reports, the representatives promised to either return the money, or donate it to charity.[2]

March 22, 2011, marked the start of the fourth consecutive week of Democratic absenteeism, complete with an increased incentive to return. Governor Mitch Daniels and House Republicans upped the ante with daily fines increasing from $250/day to $350/day, effective March 21, 2011. Despite the increased penalties, Democratic resolve remained intact. House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer stated that Democrats "will remain steadfast" in their opposition to bills hurting wages and education in Indiana.[4] Rep. Winfield Moses, Jr. (D) called the increase "a poke in the eye," and promised that it would do nothing to break the impasse.[5]

The Democrats ended the standoff after 36 days, returning on March 28, 2011. The two sides agreed to compromise on a number of issues, including shelving the controversial "right-to-work" bill.[3] Although the Democrats returned with some of their demands met, their actions were not without consequence. Each absent member accrued a total of $3,500 in fines given by Republicans.[3]

The Legislature ended up passing "right-to-work" legislation on February 1, 2012, becoming the 23rd state to do so. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) signed the measure into law.[6]



See also: Indiana House of Representatives elections, 2012

Smith won re-election in the 2012 election for Indiana House of Representatives District 14. Smith defeated Sherman D. Carson in the May 8 Democratic primary [7]and ran unopposed in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012. [8][9]

Indiana House of Representatives, District 14, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngVernon G. Smith Incumbent 100% 19,308
Total Votes 19,308

Indiana House of Representatives, District 14 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngVernon Smith 83.9% 4,678
Sherman Carson 16.1% 900
Total Votes 5,578


See also: Indiana House of Representatives elections, 2010

Smith defeated Republican candidate Catherine Campbell by a margin of 9,404 to 1,446 in the November 2 general election. [10]

In the May 4 primary election, Smith ran unopposed and received 5,041 votes. [11]

Indiana House of Representatives, District 14 General Election (2010)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Vernon Smith (D) 9,404
Catherine Campbell (R) 1,446


On November 4, 2008, Democrat Vernon Smith won re-election to the Indiana House of Representatives District 14 receiving 17,033 votes, ahead of Republican Catherine Campbell who received 2,168 votes.[12]

Indiana House of Representatives, District 14 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Vernon Smith (D) 17,033
Catherine Campbell (R) 2,168


On November 7, 2006, Vernon Smith won re-election to the Indiana House of Representatives District 14.[13]

Indiana House of Representatives, District 14 (2006)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Vernon Smith (D) 8,281
Catherine Campbell (R) 1,240

Campaign donors


Campaign donor information is not yet available for this year.


In 2010, Smith collected $10,354 in donations. The top contributors are as follows:[14]

Indiana House of Representatives 2010 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Vernon Smith's campaign in 2010
Indiana Beverage Alliance$1,000
Nisource Inc$500
Hoosiers For Accountable Local Officials$500
Eli Lilly & Co$400
Total Raised in 2010 $10,354


In 2008, Smith collected $13,224 in donations.[15]

Listed below are those that contributed most to his campaign.

Donor Amount
Indiana Beverage Alliance $1,000


In 2006, Smith collected $12,010 in donations.[16]

Listed below are the top 5 contributors to his campaign.

Donor Amount
Indiana Trial Lawyers Association $2,250
Margaret Ward $575
Indiana State Chiropractic Association $550
Indiana Beverage Alliance $450
Frobel Alumi of 1962 $400


Smith is the founder of a number of organizations, including the African American Achievers Youth Corps, Incorporated, Gary Indiana City-Wide Festival Committee, Indiana University Dons, Inc, Indiana University Gents, Inc, Young Citizens' League, and Youth Ensuring Solidarity. He is also a member of Brothers Keeper Shelter for Homeless Men, Criminal Justice Institute Board of Trustees, Handgun Control, Incorporated, Medical Center of Gary Board, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Northwest Indiana Urban League Board, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and the Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.[17]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Indiana House of Representatives District 14
Succeeded by