||Career in education and politics
Smith served one year as an assistant to the Vermont Commissioner of Education. In 1970, he became the founding president of the Community College of Vermont, a Vermont State College. He first ran for office in 1978, defeating incumbent Lieutenant Governor of Vermont T. Garry Buckley in the Republican primary but losing the general election to Democrat Madeleine M. Kunin. Between 1981 and 1983, he served as a Vermont State Senator representing the Washington County district. After Kunin chose not to run for re-election in 1982, Smith was elected to succeed her. He served two, two-year terms. He ran for Governor of Vermont in 1986 but was defeated by Kunin. After two years as Vice President of Development at Norwich University he was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1988 for Vermont's at-large congressional district with 41.2% of the vote. In 1990, he was defeated in his bid for re-election by Independent Bernie Sanders.