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Voters GuideGeneral Election Voters Guide

James Smith | General Election Voters Guide

James Smith is running for New York State Assemblyman - 5th District

James Smith

Smith, who was registered as a Republican until this spring, said the Libertarian Party is a good middle ground for him. He said it lets him support Republican financial strategies and the socially liberal ideas of Democrats. Smith said he favors more government transparency through campaign finance reform and more publicity about what bills have been passed and their impact on people’s lives. He would limit campaign contributions to $2,700 from individuals only, not businesses, in an election cycle. That would prevent influence on legislators who might vote in favor of something a large donor supports, he said. Regarding the heroin epidemic, Smith said he favors an emphasis on rehabilitation rather than on punishment. “There needs to be more options for how people get help,” Smith said. “We need to set incentives to make them want to get help.” Decriminalization of cannabis would help, Smith said. “That would give people another option to pursue where they could seek escape, but with a less dangerous option,” he said. Smith said he has been working to support Stephen Ruth, a Libertarian candidate for the State Senate’s 2nd District, who campaigns against the use of red light cameras at intersections.

Smith, 25, of Lake Grove, is running on the Libertarian line. A 2009 Centereach High School graduate, he is a Navy veteran, having served in the Seabees under the Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps. He is currently a full-time student at Queensborough Community College and also works as a stagehand in Brooklyn and Queens. He plans to transfer to Stony Brook University in the spring to study political science and hopes to attend law school after earning his undergraduate degree. He is making his first bid for office.