Smith, 68, served two terms in the Senate, from 1997 to 2009. A former state lawmaker whose family built a fortune as one of the country's chief providers of frozen peas and corn at Weston, Ore.-based Smith Frozen Foods, Smith lost a close race for reelection in 2008 to now-U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) by 49% to 46%.
After leaving the Senate, Smith became president of the NAB, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and advocates for the television and radio industries.
NAB spokesperson Ann Marie Cumming said in statement that Smith suffered the stroke last night but that the outlook is positive.
During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Smith’s committee assignments included the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. He also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Smith’s role on the Commerce Committee and as chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues.
Smith attended Brigham Young University, received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Ore. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, Smith was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years.