Leo Smith


Occupation: I am a businessman and consultant recently with the Georgia Republican Party where I created and lead the voter engagement strategy to help conservative candidates like Governor Deal and Senator Hunter Hill win in urban districts. Prior to that I launched and developed health clubs. I was licensed for ministry by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and worked in institutional change and university administration. I am currently launching a new company in public affairs.

Previous experience holding elected offices: None.

Other community service experience: I was a Georgia Republican Party State Committeeman 2012-14 and Cobb Republican Party House District Chair for six years. I am the outgoing Public Policy Chair for the Georgia Black Republican Council. I served on the Smyrna Business Task Force and Smyrna Education Foundation Board of Directors. I worked with Smyrna City Council and municipal leaders to launch Granicus, a civic engagement portal. I’ve been a Little League coach for over five years. I hosted engagement events for the National Rifle Association in Atlanta during the national convention. I currently serve on the Georgia Charter School Association’s Parent Advocacy Board.

Why should the voters choose you for this position?

I am the most experienced working with municipal leaders and legislators in support of conservative, pro-business and limited government policy. Working my way out of childhood poverty to become a successful businessman and political leader is the foundation of my pro-growth and American opportunity framework. As a job creator and entrepreneur, I’ve seen first-hand the barriers to regional development, small business start-ups and occupational licensing. I am in the best position to bridge a pro 6th district relationship between the Gold Dome, commissioners and City Council leaders. I will unify Atlanta and Cobb citizens across differences.

What is the biggest issue facing the district and how will you address it?

Vision and bold leadership are our deficits. A shifting America will negatively impact Georgia without a passionate commitment to push back on statism. My accessibility coupled with experience managing cultural shifts and ideological barriers will lend itself to protecting conservative values and traditions shared by all Georgians. As senator, I will support legislation for zero state income tax, lead support for innovative improvements in public education, and lead advocacy for conservative solutions on transportation, healthcare, education and the economy.

The legislature is expected to discuss proposals for increased state funding of mass transit and possible new governance of public transit. What is your position on those issues?

We must allow local counties and cities to have the final say on mass transportation. Localized referendums and citizen town halls must be held to win support for regional cooperation. I have shown the ability to commit the time to community stakeholders. We must find affordable solutions that work for business development and quality of life by calling on the experts with track records in transportation innovation. I am committed to looking at best practices from around the world and having full transparency on proposed legislation and taxation.

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.