Meet Kim Smith
I am a third generation Western New Yorker. Through generations, my family’s core values have been hard work, education and service.
My grandfather, Lord V. Johnson Sr. arrived in Rochester during the 1920s, during the great migration when men left their families in the South to head North for work, equal rights and opportunities.
Understanding the power of politics, Lord went directly to a Republican and requested work. Instead, he was given referrals to government services. Being a proud man, my grandfather refused and sought out a Democrat. He was given opportunities for work. The labor was hard, but he stayed with it, moving his family from the South to Rochester, where I still live. Although he didn’t have the luxury to make education his priority, he faithfully served his Church and community until his death in June of 2000, and created opportunities for his children and grandchildren.
My mother, Lucinda, the second generation, continued those core values. As a single divorced mother of five, my mom worked hard in the Rochester City School District (RCSD). My mom did not make enough in one job to support her family. She took on extra work, serving as a Parent Educational Teacher, a Food Service Supervisor and a Bus Matron. To provide for her family, she worked those jobs simultaneously for over 30 years.
Because of the hard work of the generations before me, I was able to prioritize education. I have been a full-time mother, employee and student. It’s not easy, but it can be accomplished.
I obtained my Masters in Public Administration from Suny Brockport College during my 25 years working for the Monroe County Department of Public Health (MCDPH). While at MCDPH, I worked with individuals and families, created county-wide policies and procedures, built an effective county-wide coalition to improve access to care, and helped to build bridges bringing together local government, organizational stakeholders and community members.
I have served as a board member for several agencies, often volunteering my time, and I am a Co-Founder and Board Chair of Partners Advocating for Community Change Inc. I have received numerous awards including being named to the New York State Honor Roll for my dedicated service in Public Health.
My family is not alone in holding these core values of hard work, education and service to the communities. We all want to reach for something greater and thrive. Yet, many of us hit a “glass ceiling” in our personal and economic growth. And when we arrive there we realize that we need more than core values to advance. We need just and equitable policies, and we need the resources necessary to thrive.
That realization forced me to leave MCDPH and join VOCAL-NY (Voices Of Community Activists & Leaders). An organization that builds power among marginalized communities to create political change. We have experienced many concrete wins including rent stabilization and fairer criminal justice laws. However, more needs to be done.
That’s why I am running for the New York State Senate. And it’s why I am running as a PROUD Democrat. Individuals, families and communities who work hard to live their core values from generation to generation deserve a champion who knows how to fight for just and fair policies that will shatter that glass ceiling and create opportunities to thrive for ALL!!!
Kim Smith is a Leader Who Serves