Smith to carry on tradition of service
By Lucy Weber
Will Smith | The Herald
The lone District 3 supervisor
candidate since the withdrawal of Andy Taggart, D.I. Smith still plans
to ask residents for their votes.
D.I. SMITH RESUME|
Retired Army colonel, with experience in a variety of leadership
and staff positions. Looking to use management and other skills as
Madison County District 3 supervisor.
Member of the U.S. Army, 1969-1999, including six years command
experience in field artillery and aviation with combat service in
Vietnam and Panama. Also Inspector General, Mississippi National Guard,
Currently serving as on-site property manager for Dinsmor subdivision, Ridgeland.
University of Southern Mississippi, B.S. in business management.
Troy State University, Master of Business Administration.
Military schools, Field Artillery Officer basic and advanced courses;
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; U.S. Army War College
Military Officers Association of America
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association
Army Aviation Association of America
Jackson Metro Cyclists
Jackson Triathlon Club
Mississippi Track Club
AWARDS and DECORATIONS
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal (10)
Army Commendation Medal
Senior Parachutist Badge
Master Army Aviator Badge
Wife, Linda; father of two daughters and grandfather of six
Member of Highland Colony Baptist Church and deacon
Web site: www.dismith.com
D.I. Smith recalls the lessons he learned growing
up in the Delta town of Sidon and watching his father, a Leflore County
supervisor for eight years.
Probably one of
the earliest lessons in ethics Smith said he ever received came on his
family's farm when there was a bulldozer just sitting there. A local
dealer had brought it out for his father to try.
asked my father 'Why aren't you using it?' He said, 'It's not right for
me to be getting the benefit of it,'" Smith recalls his father saying.
"'They brought it so I'd be indebted.'"
decades later, Smith wants to follow the tradition of his father and
his grandfather, also a Leflore supervisor. "I hope I can measure up to
their standards," he said.
Friends said county
supervisor is a job for which Smith, a 30-year military man, is ideally
suited. With no opposition, Smith will win the District 3 seat on the
Madison County Board of Supervisors this year.
has high standards, and he'll do what's right for the county," said Tom
Logue, the veterans service officer for the county and a neighbor of
Smith in the Dinsmor subdivision.
"He's a man
with enormous integrity," said Dave Robinson, who has known him for 30
years through the Army and now as a neighbor in their Ridgeland
subdivision where Smith serves as on-site property manager. "He's in it
for the service. He really wants to do what he can for the community
and in the spirit of his daddy and granddaddy."
he qualified to run for office minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline March
1, Smith said he's heard nothing but positive comments from friends and
neighbors stopping him on the street, calling him and e-mailing him,
with 150 or more stored on his computer.
"I have not received any criticism," he said.
Not so for Andy Taggart, the current District 3 supervisor, who dropped out of the race shortly after Smith qualified.
in the district have complained they lost the right to vote for their
next representative because of Taggart's withdrawal after the deadline
for all candidates to qualify for the Aug. 7 primary election. Taggart
said he wants to concentrate on his law practice.
2 0/20 hindsight, certainly Andy would be getting less grief if I'd
qualified earlier," Smith said. "At some point in time, if Andy hadn't
dropped out, I probably would have dropped out."
there are public complaints about the lack of a competitive election in
District 3, "I don't take it personally," Smith said.
said he met Taggart at the National Day of Prayer breakfast in
Ridgeland in 2003 and has stayed in touch since, mainly on issues
dealing with Dinsmor.
"This was not a conspiracy," Smith said, about his qualifying and Taggart's withdrawal so close together.
had considered running for years. It was no secret this was something I
always wanted to do," said Smith, adding that he contacted Taggart to
alert him to his decision to run.
strong believer in the Lord, and I give all the credit to him for
having this opportunity and I plan to give all the energy I've got,"
Smith said. "I had thousands of prayer warriors around the world
praying for this situation."
Smith said he is approaching the election as if he does have an opponent.
"I plan to visit with as many residents of District 3 as possible. I plan to take part in as many candidate forums as I can.
want people to know who D.I. Smith is, and I want to solicit their
opinions," he said. "I look forward to meeting even more people in the
To prepare for his new job, Smith
attended his first Board of Supervisors meeting as a member of the
audience last week and said he intends to attend as many as he can.
Smith said he is studying issues in the district and countywide.
excited to get into the details (of the county's road program)," he
said. "I'm learning more about the planning and budgeting process the
"It will take me a while to
develop corporate knowledge and to get with constituents and obtain
input from them," he said. "I plan to do everything I can do about what
the people feel the priorities should be."
roads in the Annandale subdivision need substantial upgrades and
improvements, an issue Taggart has been working on in his tenure. Smith
said he needs to study and talk about the issue more but the county
needs "to start dealing with it now," he said.
building of a juvenile justice facility has been promoted by county
judges, but the current board has not yet voted on what steps to take.
Smith's view of the subject: "We have a need and we need to consider
alternatives to incarceration. It is unsatisfactory to me to be taking
our teenagers to some other facility in another county."
his three years on the board, Taggart has been a strong advocate of
turning over county functions to private companies if it saves
"I had a lot of experience
with that in the military. Most of my experiences with privatizing is
that it has improved services," Smith said.
retired in 1999 as a colonel after a 30-year Army career, which he
finished as inspector general for the Mississippi National Guard.
his years of service, he held a variety of command and leadership
positions. He led soldiers into battle in Vietnam and Panama. He
commanded garrisons where he oversaw the roads, buildings and people,
all skills he said that will come into play as a county supervisor.
His military training has prepared him well for the job, Smith said.
a retired Army general, agrees. "He's a man with a purpose and a drive.
He knows how to work with people," he said. "With D.I., what you see is
what you get."
"Military leadership is working
with diverse groups of people and obtaining a consensus," Smith said.
"I've got a lot of capabilities to provide to the citizens of District
3. I know what it is to serve.
"I consider myself an ethical and moral person," Smith said. "I've got a lot to give to this county."
Rev. Jay Richardson, pastor of Highland Colony Baptist Church, said
Smith has been involved in leadership positions in the church for years.
is a man of great character. He is a man not afraid to stand for his
own principles. He will make a great supervisor," Richardson said.