Anyone who has ever called the GOP the "party of old white guys" has obviously never met Princella Smith. Not only is she a proud member of the GOP, but she's young, she's black, and she's a woman. Oh, and she's running for Congress in Arkansas. So just who is this young woman who's taking the "Natural State" by storm? Here is a look at her short life leading up to her not-so-typical run for Congress.
Princella Smith has been public speaking since she was four years old and by the age of nine, she and her brothers were in high demand as keynote speakers at a number of church and education-based events, where they were often asked to recite Martin Luther King's entire "I Have a Dream" speech. But that's not all she did at a young age. Smith was involved in a number of academic and civic groups as a child. According to her website, she came in first place at two county spelling bees, won awards for writing, won quiz bowls, and was involved with Girl Scouts, Key Club, and Boys 2 Men/Girls 2 Women.
Smith attributes her success at such a young age to being raised in a small town with a strong foundation. She grew up in Wynne, Arkansas, raised by her father John Smith, a former school board vice president and the minister at Christian Fellowship Church and her mother Sandra Smith, the vice principal at Wynne High School.
In high school, she developed a passion for politics when she was sponsored by the Wynne chapter of the Women’s American Legion Auxiliary to attend Arkansas Girls State. There, she was elected out of about 900 girls as the 2001 Girls State Governor. That summer, she was awarded an internship with the state's Lt. Governor Win Rockefeller. During that internship, she was part of a life-changing moment. The Lt. Governor asked her to write a speech for him to give a college graduation. She did and he read it word for word, something he usually didn't do with his staff. Smith has said of that moment, "To see your billionaire, world-famous, Lt. Governor quote your words verbatim is overwhelming. Do you know what that does to a kid from the Delta?" In high school, Smith went on to letter in women's basketball, leading the team to its first state playoff appearance in years. She was elected to the Arkansas All-Star Basketball team, was her class president, and graduated with honors.
She went on to college at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas, where she majored in political science and minored in communications and history, and played for the school's women's basketball team. She is also a graduate of the Buckley School of Public Speaking. Smith went on to take part in internships with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Congressman John Boozman of Arkansas, and served a clerkship at the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2004, she won a speech/essay contest sponsored by MTV called "Stand Up and Holla." That same year, she spoke at the Republican National Convention, just before First Lady Laura Bush addressed the nation.
In 2006, she served as the E-Campaign Director for then Maryland Lt. Governor and current Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. In that position, she managed all electronic communications for the campaign, including the official campaign website. She has also served as a Communications Director and as the National Spokesperson for American Solutions and has been a guest lecturer at the Leadership Institute, speaking on topics such as "New Media" and "Grassroots Activism." She is also a visiting fellow at the Independent Women's Forum and has worked as a political contributor for the following media outlets: FOX News, FOX Business News, CNN, CBS, MSNBC, BET, Bloomberg News, PBS, France 24, EuroAmerican News, Danish Broadcasting, NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, XM Satellite Radio, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Essence Magazine, YouTube News, XM Radio, AOL Radio/TV, Black America Web, RocktheVote.com, Huffington Post.
You can read more about what Smith stands for and why she's running for office at PrincellaSmith.com.