Smith has spent her entire career in public service. She served for twenty years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Labor Bureau of the office of the New York State Attorney General as a section chief (1987–93), then as Deputy Bureau Chief (1993–99), and as the Bureau Chief (1999–2007). During her later years in charge of the Labor Bureau she developed a system of active government labor law enforcement that became a model for other Attorneys General and enforcement agencies. Prior to that Smith spent ten years at federally funded legal services programs in Connecticut and Indiana, starting as a Staff Attorney and ending as Assistant Litigation Director. In her legal services work, Smith represented unemployment claimants, minimum wage workers, workers in federal job training programs and job seekers.
Jeremiah Smith (lawyer)
Born in Peterborough in the Province of New Hampshire, Smith attended Harvard University before graduating from Queens College in New Brunswick, New Jersey (now Rutgers University) in 1780. He served in the Continental Army, and read law to enter the bar in 1786. He was in private practice in Peterborough from 1786 to 1796. He was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 1798 to 1799, and the United States House of Representatives from 1791 to 1797. He was United States Attorney for the District of New Hampshire from 1797 to 1800. He was a probate judge of Rockingham County, New Hampshire from 1800 to 1801.
Born Patricia Spafford in Shell Lake on August 17, 1925, Smith attended Superior State Teachers College (now University of Wisconsin–Superior) and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.B.A. in 1946; she later attended UW-Eau Claire and UW-Barron County as well. After graduation, Smith worked as an accountant for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, and later ran a school bus contracting business (she was on the board of directors of the Wisconsin School Bus Association). At the time of her first election to public office, she had a record of leadership in organizations including Wisconsin Citizens Concerned for Life, Barron County Sports Center, Barron Co. Health Forum, Barron County Adult 4-H Leaders Association, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the Barron County Democratic Party.