Longtime Director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office to Retire

Tom "Smitty" SmithTom “Smitty” Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, will retire early next year after 31 years of championing consumer rights and clean energy policies in Texas.

Smitty is widely known as the man in the white hat around the state Capitol. He has testified more than 1,000 times before the Texas Legislature and Congress. He has led a team based in Austin, but also includes staff in Houston and Dallas. And he has effected reforms that have improved public health and safety, protected consumers’ pocketbooks and helped curb climate change.

Texas State Representative Rafael Anchia of Dallas had kind words for Smitty upon learning of his planned departure, “With the wisdom of Yoda and the dogged determination of the Lorax, Smitty Smith gave voice to the common man in the Texas Legislature for decades.  Smitty is that rare person who always put the best interests of the people of Texas first, and whether he was advocating for more honest government, voting rights, or the environmental, he did so with boundless knowledge, grace, good humor and patience.”

Smitty’s accomplishments at Public Citizen include:

  • Helping to make Texas the top wind energy state in the country by conducting studies, organizing Texans and assembling a coalition of groups to push for wind power;
  • Working with state policymakers to create the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP), which has awarded more than $1 billion to replace 10,000-plus diesel engines and has cut more than 160,836 tons of smog-forming NOx;
  • Organizing with Karen Hadden of the SEED coalition, now his wife, to create 16 local groups that stopped the construction of 12 of 17 proposed coal plants over the past decade and four proposed nuclear reactors;
  • Helping pass the state’s building energy code, which has significantly reduced energy use in homes build after 2003;
  • Helping craft and pass major ethics reforms that included the creation of the state’s ethics commission;
  • Helping craft insurance reforms passed in 1991;
  • Successfully pushing for a better state lemon law; and
  • Co-founding and mentoring 13 nonprofit organizations including Solar Austin, Clean Water Action in Texas, Texas ROSE (Ratepayers Organized to Save Energy) and the Sustainable Energy & Economic Development (SEED) coalition.

Smitty has been a great leader for Public Citizen’s Texas office and he knows that his success was thanks to our supporters.

“The only way to beat political corruption is with organized people,” Smitty said. “Time after time I have seen a small group of citizens organize and speak out, and change happens. Our job as citizens is to take back our government and keep our government open, honest and responsive.”

We will miss working with Smitty, but he will continue to contribute to the betterment of the world as a public citizen wherever he goes.

Please help us find a new Executive Director.  The job description is posted here.