Kenneth Michael Smith, Sr., known as Mike Smith (born June 1, 1948), is a businessman in Winnfield, Louisiana, who served as a Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1996 to 2008.
Smith was term-limited in District 31, which encompasses all or parts of De Soto, Grant, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, and Winn parishes. In the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 20, 2007, Smith was succeeded by his Republican cousin, Gerald Long, a Winnfield native residing in Natchitoches. Long defeated outgoing State Representative Taylor Townsend, an attorney also from Natchitoches. Townsend in 1999, had defeated Long’s brother, Jimmy D. Long of Natchitoches, for the state House seat.
Smith was born in Winnfield to P.K. Smith and the former Marjorie McLamore (March 27, 1923–April 30, 1997). He graduated in 1966 from Winnfield Senior High School, where he was active in the Future Farmers of America. One of his classmates was James R. "Jim" Fannin, a state representative since 2003 from Jonesboro in Jackson Parish, whose District 13 also includes the northern portion of Winn Parish. Another was Danny Keys, director of the Louisiana Technical College - Huey P. Long Campus in Long's native Winnfield. In 1970, Smith obtained a degree in agribusiness from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. For two years, he taught in public schools. In February 1974, Smith, his father, and brother, Perry Joe Smith, Sr. (1943–2009), launched a combined General Motors and Chrysler car dealership, which still operates at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and 167 in Winnfield. In 2009, Chrysler pulled out of the Winnfield market; Smith now handles Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, and Cadillac vehicles. Smith co-owned the business with his brother. The Smith family formerly operated other businesses, including a motel, restaurant, drive-in theater, dress shop, beauty shop, and a franchise of the former Gibson Discount Company.
P.K. Smith served as a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives for a single term from 1960 to 1964. Perry Joe Smith was a former member of the Winn Parish Police Jury and operated other businesses, including P&K Farms, the former Perry Joe Smith Ford in Montgomery in Grant Parish, Popeyes Chicken in Winnfield, and Brushy Creek Oil Company. He was also active in the local, state, and national Cattlemen's associations.
Smith won his Senate seat in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on October 21, 1995, by defeating an intraparty rival, Mike Henry, 22,980 (61.7 percent) to 14,244 (38.3 percent). In 1999, Smith again dispatched a Democratic rival, James Haley, 23,283 (68.1 percent) to 10,899 (31.9 percent). He was unopposed in the 2003 primary for his third and last Senate term. Senator Smith served on the Agriculture Committee and was its chairman from 2000 to 2008. He also served on the Commerce Committee as vice chairman from 1996 to 2000 and on Revenue and Finance, starting in 1997.
Smith considers the establishment of the new Huey Long technical college facility the "gold star" of his career in the state Senate. The institution outgrew its previous downtown Winnfield location, and the new structure is under construction in north Winnfield off Highway 167 near the senior high school.
He is a member of the Masonic lodge, Rotary International, and, like most members of the extended Long family, the Baptist Church. Smith is a first cousin of Senator Gerald Long because Long's mother, Ruby Smith Long (1906–1984) of Natchitoches, was a sister of P. K. Smith.
Smith is a critic of the syndicated radio talk show host Moon Griffon, based in Monroe. In October 2010, he called the program, using his first name "Kenneth," alleging that two unnamed Republicans control the content of Griffon's remarks. Griffon replies that he alone owns his program and speaks his own views without dictation from anyone else.
According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's office, Smith is no longer a Democrat but a registered Independent.