Jeffrey Paul Smith

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Jeffrey Paul Smith (born 1956) is an attorney,[1][2][3] community organizer, and political activist[4][5] from Illinois who is known for advocacy of progressive, reform, and independent[6] causes. Jeff is currently running in the February 28, 2017 primary for mayor of Evanston, Illinois.[7]

In 1983-1984, at age 27, Smith served as Illinois state coordinator for George McGovern's "elder statesman" presidential campaign.[8] Two years later, he mounted a successful grassroots effort to unseat the Illinois Democratic Party chairman, Calvin Sutker, and was elected Democratic State Central Committeeman for the 9th Congressional District of Illinois,[9] then represented in Congress by Sidney Yates.[10]

In 2007, Smith and a group of Harvard Law School classmates garnered attention for public criticism of the actions of classmate, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.[11][12]

Smith served as president of a large community organization in Evanston, Illinois, the Central Street Neighbors Association ("CSNA").[13] His analysis was credited with "playing a leading role" in the development of the Central Street Master Plan in 2007-08.[14] Smith has been a proponent of green building and the principle that new construction should be sustainable as a matter of law.[15][16][17] He also served as lead attorney in the federal case, Lake Michigan Federation (now the Alliance for the Great Lakes) v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which blocked public lakebed from being sold for private development, a case now frequently cited in other public trust doctrine litigation. 742 U.S. 441 (U.S. Dist. Ct. N. Ill., 1990). Jeff also served as a citizen member of the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council.[18]

Smith's essays and commentary appear frequently on the CSNA website, on the Chicago-area online magazine Gapers Block,[19] and on Prairie State Blue,[20] a progressive leaning Illinois blog. In the fall of 2008, especially following a column he published on municipal priorities,[21] there was an effort to draft Smith to run for mayor of Evanston.[22][23]

In 2010, Smith ran in the five way Democratic primary for representative of the 18th district of the Illinois General Assembly, losing to Robyn Gabel by a narrow 2,565 votes.

In November, 2011, Smith filed to run for representative in the newly redistricted 17th district of the Illinois General Assembly after Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) announced he intended to run for Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg's soon-to-be vacant state Senate seat.[24] In January, 2012, Smith withdrew his candidacy, citing the unusually short schedule before the March 20 Illinois primary.[25]

From 2011 until February 2015, he served as General Counsel to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

In 2016, Jeffrey Smith announced his intention to run for the office of Evanston Mayor.[26]


  1. Editorial (March 3, 1988). "Tax Board and Sanitary District". Chicago Tribune.
  2. Horan, Deborah (Nov 16, 2007). "Evanston violated act, tower foes say". Chicago Tribune. pp. 3 (Metro). Retrieved 2008-12-11.
  3. Brian Cox, Evanston remap splits NU voters, keeps black wards, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 17, 2003 (Metro sec., p. 6)
  4. Gavin, Mary Helt (2008-12-10). "Residents Offer Comments On The Future of Downtown Evanston". Evanston Roundtable. p. 3. Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. Archived 2011-12-30 at the Wayback Machine Russ Stewart, Evanston "Progressives" Fight Creeping Capitalism, April 30, 2008
  6. Hardy, Thomas (Feb 7, 1988). "Don't Overlook This Machine v. Reform Political Battle". Chicago Tribune. pp. 3 (Perspective, Sec. C).
  7. "Main Page". Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  8. Levinsohn, Florence Hamlisch (Mar 9, 1984). "On the Illinois Ballot for George McGovern". Chicago Reader. pp. 1, 26–30.
  9. Wingert, Pat (1986-03-20). "Stunned Democrats Agonize on LaMess". Chicago Tribune. pp. 3 (Chicagoland, Sec. C).
  10. Stewart, Russ (January 25, 2006). ""Nobody" Democrats Have Hopes In March Primaries". Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. Zajac, A. (2007-05-15). "Harvard classmates diss Gonzales". The Swamp. Chicago Tribune.
  12. Horton, Scott (2007-05-16). "Gonzales's Law School Classmates Send Him a Message". Harper's Online.
  13. "Central Street Neighbors Association". Retrieved 2008-12-10.
  14. Seidenberg, Bob (2008-12-11). "Plan spurs divergent views". Evanston Review. p. 9.
  15. Gavin, Mary Helt (2008-01-23). "Preservation Included As Part of Downtown Plan". Evanston Roundtable. Retrieved 2009-02-03.[dead link]
  16. "City Council Meeting Minutes January 14, 2008" (PDF). January 14, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 23, 2011. Retrieved February 4, 2009. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  17. Smith, Jeffrey P. (2008-04-17). "Larger Issues Loom Over Tower". Evanston Review.
  18. "Offshore Wind Energy Report". 2012-08-14. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  19. "Gapers Block : Mechanics : Chicago Politics". Gapers Block - Mechanics. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  20. "Prairie State Blue (Jeff Smith's Diaries)". Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-12-10. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. Smith, Jeff (Oct 1, 2008). "What Evanston Needs (and Doesn't Need)". Evanston Roundtable. Retrieved 2008-12-11.[dead link]
  22. "Mayor Contest Up to 4, Some Want a 5th". 2008-09-25. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  23. "Aldermanic and Mayor Election Updates". Evanston Roundtable. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2009-02-03.[dead link]
  24. Railey, Kimberly (2011-11-28). "Northwestern alum to run for Illinois House seat". The Daily Northwestern. Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2011-11-30. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. Shields, Todd (2012-01-17). "Smith drops out of state House Dem race". Wilmette Life. Archived from the original on 2012-09-09. Retrieved 2012-01-19. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  26. Smith, Bill (2016-12-08). "5th candidate enters mayoral race". Evanston Now. Retrieved 2016-12-10.

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