<span>Tom O’Dell Smith feels he could hit the ground running with his years of experience</span>

Tom O'Dell Smith, a Republican candidate in the 86th district state representative race. | Photo contributed

STATE REPRESENTATIVE 86TH DISTRICT — “I do consulting work. I work in the fields of putting together federal and state funds for projects, and I am strong in my faith and my church,” said Tom O’Dell Smith, a Republican candidate in the 86th District state representative race.

Smith said he is a father, grandfather and an entrepreneur.

“I just turned 61, but with the field I have been in for the last 20 years, [I have been] working with federal funds and state funds,” said Smith. “I have a good background working with Congressman Rogers and our other state leaders. The federal side and also our state leaders.”

Smith will face three other candidates in the primary election on June 23.

“I’ve got over 30 years of experience in state work — with state funding, legislation, laws, regulations,” said Smith. “I feel like I don’t have to be trained. I can just hit the ground running and I can get things done.”

Smith said he has already been involved in bringing jobs to the area.

Smith said he was involved with renovating the “old nursing home in Barbourville and got $7 million in funding to bring the community college or technical college in, and what we are doing there, we are going to give our young people a chance and our adults a chance to get certified in different fields.”

“I am a strong believer in vocation. I would like to see us get a new vocational school here in the area so that it could be a feeder for it,” said Smith. “I’d like for not only my grandkids but all the area's youth, to be able to find jobs and stay here and live. To do that it takes more than just a college degree or a business degree — we need to give them the opportunity to go into a vocation. If we can get them certified, they can go to work.”

His top three planks if elected, Smith said, are fast-tracking adoptions, protecting religious rights and gun rights.

“I think it is one thing to say you are pro-life,” said Smith. “We ask these women to have the baby, we say we want them to have the baby, so one of the things I am really going to stress is adoption.”

“It is so hard for people to adopt a child,” said Smith. “We need to cut through the red tape.”

That is why Smith said adoption would be his number one priority along with vocational schools if elected.

“I don’t intend to make a career out of it. I would just like to go and serve a few terms — long enough to get a few of these projects done that I’ve got on my mind,” said Smith.

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