State Senator Bob Smith proudly represents the rights and interests of the citizens of the 17th Legislative District, a dynamic and ever changing community, which includes parts of Middlesex and Somerset Counties. Having served in the New Jersey State Legislature since 1986, first as a State Assemblyman and more recently as State Senator, Bob Smith is considered one of the State's leading environmental lawmakers. The New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association recently named Smith the Legislator of the Year.
During his eight terms in the General Assembly, Smith was consistently ranked at or near the top of NJPIRG's Public Interest rating and has been named Environmental Legislator of the Year by several New Jersey Environmental Organizations. Smith sponsored and passed laws such as Ocean Pollution Bounty Act, Sludge Management Ave, Oil Spill Prevention Act and the Clean Water Enforcement Ave; these laws deal with such critical matters as increasing penalties for violations of environmental laws, repairing outmoded combined sewer systems, and reforming the oil spill prevention efforts of our state. Senator Smith has sponsored legislation establishing the protection of water resources and flood prone areas as high priorities under the open space acquisition program. He has taken the lead on protecting our valuable water resources by sponsoring the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act which protects the region that provides drinking water for 5 million New Jersey citizens.
Senator Smith has worked diligently for his district as well as the entire state by sponsoring the Emergency Disaster Relief Act and Local Flood Aid Act to aid economic recovery. Smith has fought for the rights of our New Jersey National Guard students. These students, who serve our country, were being forced to register for classes after their civilian peers as the colleges and universities were not reimbursed for providing their educational benefits. He sponsored and had a law passed that provided for the funding of college education and allowed for the National Guard students to register along with their fellow peers.
Smith has fought for the enactment of laws affording greater protection of child victims of abuse and sponsored bills to increase the penalties for car jacking. He was a leaded in the fight to protect citizens from lead poisoning. To protect worker's rights, Senator Smith authored the Worker and Community Right to Know Act and more recently sponsored a bill which would make it easier for non-unionized employees to organize to increase their negotiating power. For his contributions to workers across the state, Senator Smith was presented with the 2006 Hubert H. Humphrey Friend of Labor Award by the Middlesex County AFL-CIO.
Formerly a member of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and the Assembly's Policy and Rules Committee, Smith served as Chairman of the Assembly Committee on Energy and the Environment and was ranking minority member of the Environment, Science and Technology Committee. Currently, Senator Smith is the Chairman of the Senate Environmental Committee and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as an alternative member of the Senate House Commission. As Chairman of the Environmental Committee, Senator Smith continues to pursue an aggressive environmental agenda, currently advancing recycling legislation to bring the Garden State back to the forefront of recycling in the nation, creating sustainable communities, and combating the global warming crisis.
Senator Smith has a long record of public service having served as Mayor of Piscataway Township from 1981-1986 and was a member of the Township Council from 1977-1981, serving as Council President and Vice President. From 1991-1992 he served as the Chairman of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization. He also served as Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic Task Force on the Environment in 1987 and was counsel to the New Jersey State Democratic Platform in both 1987 and 1989. From 1995-1996 he served as Deputy Minority Leader in the General Assembly.
Senator Bob Smith is a uniquely qualified legislator. Prior to becoming an attorney in private practice, Senator Smith was a Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science at Middlesex County College. He holds Master's degrees in Chemistry from the University of Scranton and Environmental Science from Rutgers University, as well as a J.D. in law from Seton Hall University.
He and his wife Ellen live and work in Piscataway Township. They are parents to two grown daughters and are proud grandparents of six grandchildren.