BACKGROUND: Smith, 73, of Greenport, is making her first bid for office. She writes case studies for the Columbia Business School, was head of an investment development group specializing in multifamily housing and served on the mentor board for Columbia’s entrepreneurial program. Smith began her career as an English teacher in Queens before moving into real estate. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Queens College; her master’s in linguistics and a doctorate in communications theory at New York University; and an MBA at Columbia. She is chairwoman of the town of Southold’s Housing Advisory Commission, a member of its economic development committee and vice-chairwoman of the Southold Local Development Corp., which helps nonprofits get bond financing. She has an adult daughter.
ISSUES: Smith said her analytical approach will help her solve problems as she works to provide stability for those whose lives are greatly affected by a lack of affordable health care and student loan debt. “These 'skinny health care plans' are skinny in what they offer the insured. It’s going to be a shocking thing if the people get sick,” she said. “They’re pushing something that will disappoint holders in spite of the fact they’re paying a premium.” Another issue that affects many people is outstanding student loan debt, she said. Now estimated at $1.5 trillion by the Federal Reserve, Smith noted that, nationally, student loan debt is higher than credit card debt. Smith said she would work to mandate that students and their parents get objective advice before taking on student loans to avoid situations in which the company making a loan is the one giving the advice, which now happens frequently, she said. “We need to make things predictable for people,” she said. “Predictable things lower stress, and that is important to people’s stability.”