Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

<span class="kicker">Trentonian article on Intl Megan's Law</span>'Over 23 years later, Megan’s Law is still expanding, this time worldwide'

2017/11/20

By Jeff Edelstein, Trentonian Staff -  

It’s hard to believe it’s been 23 years since the death of Megan Kanka, the Hamilton 7-year-old who was raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex offender. It is, without question, the most heinous and brutal crime in modern Mercer County history. It’s something no one who lives around here will ever forget.

Of course, the tragedy eventually led to the creation of Megan’s Law, first here in New Jersey, and then across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The premise of the law is simple: When a convicted child sex offender moves into town, they have to register with local authorities and people in the neighborhood are notified by their presence.

I’m all for the law, for the record. It’s just a shame we need it. Because if it was up to me, anyone convicted of molesting a child would never get a chance to “move into town.” Life imprisonment is fine by me. Heck, you could convince me of the death penalty in certain cases. My rationale is simple: If a society can’t effectively protect its children from predators, it has little business calling itself a society. I harbor no love in my heart for any human who would sexually molest a child. As such, I don’t care about the rights of these people. I don’t care about the fact they’re forever marked wherever they go. They should be marked. The end. (NOTE: OK, maybe not “the end.” I’m writing this part after original publication, after it was pointed out to me I’m painting with a broad brush. Who I’m talking about specifically, and who I’m talking about after this note, is the true scum, the true pedophile. I’m not talking about 18-year-olds who hooked up with a 14-year-old and are branded sex offenders. That’s not right, and they don’t belong on any list. I’m talking about evil predators. Moving on, then.)

But not everyone agrees. Like the United States Senate. How else to explain the nine years(!) it took Congressman Chris Smith to pass International Megan’s Law, a bill introduced six times before finally being signed by President Barack Obama in 2016. And how else to explain why it took over a year for the passport identifier portion of the program — in which convicted child molestors have the following imprinted on their passports: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212 (c) (i)” — to finally happen?

“We got our foot in the door in New Jersey, and now we’re worldwide,” said Richard Kanka, Megan’s father, a statehouse news conference Friday. “This is a very important day, and I’m excited we’re taking another step forward. It took nine years, and it’s something that’s long overdue.”

In short: Megan’s Law is now a worldwide phenomenon.

If a convicted child sex offender is seeking to travel overseas, they must register with the State Department so they can be vetted and so that the State Department can, at their discretion, warn the country the offender is seeking to travel to.

Since the signing of the law, the United States has warned over 100 countries that over 3,500 convicted pedophiles were trying to get in their country, and over 2,000 of those people were denied entry.

Foreign countries have reciprocated 100 times.

And that’s the next step for Smith and Kanka: To get the rest of the world on board with the plan.

“We’re trying to get other countries to replicate the passport process,” Smith said.

As well they should. We’ve got enough American sickos as it is. We don’t need any foreign pedophiles.

“This is a big step in protecting the children of this great country, as well as the children of the world,” Kanka said. “When we started this back in 1994 we just didn’t stop there. We worked on this. And now this train is rolling again, and it’s rolling quicker.”

I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child, nevermind to lose a child in such a horrible way. Tremendous credit to Richard and Maureen Kanka for spearheading Megan’s Law, and even more credit for not stopping, some 23 years later.

Jeff Edelstein is a columnist for The Trentonian

This article ran on pages 1 & 2 of the Sunday edition of the Trentonian newspaper and can be found online at:
http://www.trentonian.com/article/TT/20171118/NEWS/171119808

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<span class ="kicker">TrentonTimes/NJ.com News Article***</span>'Sex offenders get branded passports under International Megan's Law'

2017/11/18

By Kevin Shea, Senior Reporter for NJ.com -

The effort to notify other countries about traveling sex offenders got more teeth recently when federal authorities started issuing passports to convicted pedophiles that identify their offender status.

It's a component of the International Megan's Law, a federal law sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., and signed by President Obama in February of 2016.

The bill was named for Megan Kanka, the 7-year-old Hamilton girl killed in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who lived on her street. Her name also is memorialized on the New Jersey community notification law passed shortly after her death, which has companion laws in all 50 states.

Sample of a sex offender's U.S. Passport. 

Smith and the Kanka family talked about the passport provisionFriday morning in Trenton, saying it's just the latest in a now 23-year cause to notify the world about sex offenders.

"Child predators thrive on secrecy - a secrecy that allows them to commit heinous crimes against the weakest and most vulnerable," Smith said.

"Now, this is another layer of protection," the congressman said of the new stamp offenders will get on their passports.

The international Megan's Law required the federal Homeland Security and Justice departments to inform foreign governments when registered sex offenders are visiting their countries, and to get reciprocal information when they come to the U.S.

Since then, Smith said, the law has led to the United States warning nearly 100 countries about 3,500 convicted pedophiles seeking to enter their country, and nearly 2,000 being denied.

"Others, and this is speculative, were likely given more scrutiny by law enforcement while in the country," Smith said.

The passport branding, though, was delayed until Oct. 31 of this year, when the State department started issuing them, Smith said.

A convicted offender, if they get a passport, will find this message inside: "The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212b(c)(l)." 

Smith said it was Richard Kanka, in their numerous conversations about the legislation - which Smith first sponsored in 2008 - who brought up U.S. Passports.

"Passports, what are we doing with the passports?" Smith quoted Kanka as saying to him repeatedly.

Kanka said he and his wife Maureen always knew the original Megan's Law was just one piece of an overall mission to protect children and inform the public. It's now a two-decade cause that has seen slow and down times, but has always moved forward.

"We were rolling, but now we're rolling quicker," Kanka said after discussing the passport identifier. "We're excited because this is something's that's far overdue."

Also on hand for the announcement was retired state Sen. Peter Inverso, who sponsored the original Megan's Law.

This article originally ran on page 1 of the Trenton Times on Sat. Nov. 18, 2017 and can be read online at:

http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2017/11/megans_law_sex_offender_notification_cause_rolls_o.html


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Smith’s Law Results in Important New Protections for Children Against Predators

2017/11/17

A new passport identifier for convicted pedophiles will help protect children from pedophiles looking to travel abroad, possibly to abuse children, said Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), author of legislation to create the identifier.    

“Child predators thrive on secrecy—a secrecy that allows them to commit heinous crimes against the weakest and most vulnerable,” Smith stated at a press conference on Friday in Trenton, N.J., about the passport protections included in his International Megan’s Law, which had several other provisions aimed at protecting children.

“We know from law enforcement and media documentation that Americans on U.S. sex offender registries are caught sexually abusing children in Asia, Central and South America, Europe—everywhere,” Smith said. “Again, we have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from abuse.” To read Smith’s full remarks, click here.

The new passport protections from the U.S. State Department were mandated by Smith’s International Megan’s Law, which passed the House three times before finally being enacted in February of 2016.

The law is named after Megan Kanka, a resident of Smith’s home town of Hamilton, N.J. who, at seven years old, was sexually assaulted and killed in 1994 by a repeat sex offender who was a neighbor, but whose offender status was unbeknownst to residents of the community.

Smith spoke alongside Megan’s family, who have been fighting for legal protections for children from predators at the state, federal, and international levels. “This is a big step in trying to protect the children of the country and the whole world,” Rich Kanka, father of Megan Kanka, stated on Friday.

“Megan was a wonderful little girl. She loved everybody,” Kanka said. Both he and Smith on Friday advocated for a version of Megan’s Law to be enacted in every country in the world.  “We have to stop the trafficking and the exploitation. I am here and I am not going anywhere,” Kanka said.

Megan’s Law, originally passed in New Jersey, required public notification of convicted sex offenders living in an area. Now all 50 states have such laws protecting children against predators at home. International Megan’s Law was drafted to create a system of notification between countries so that foreign countries – as well as the U.S. – would know when a convicted sex offender is looking to enter their boundaries.

Child predators have tried to evade detection when traveling, by misreporting the countries they are traveling to in naming their transit countries rather than their destination countries, Smith said.

Now, as a result of Smith’s law, countries including the U.S. are being notified when convicted pedophiles seek to enter, and they are being turned back at the borders of the U.S. and these countries. The law empowers many of the destination countries for convicted pedophiles to turn them away or monitor them while they travel within their borders.

According to Smith, the U.S. has been alerted by foreign countries of at least 100 of their convicted pedophiles trying to enter the U.S. Almost 100 other countries have been warned by the U.S. of over 3,500 convicted pedophiles trying to enter, and almost 2,000 convicted pedophiles from the U.S. have been turned away from their destination country since the law’s enactment.

In addition to improving and speeding up this notification process, International Megan’s Law directed the State Department, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to set up an identification for passports of convicted pedophiles who are on states’ public offender registries, so that destination countries have another opportunity to screen pedophiles when they attempt to enter.

According to a 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office, at least 4,500 U.S. passports were issued to registered sex offenders in FY 2008. There were 797,094 registered sex offenders in the U.S., according to FBI numbers from September 30th, and almost 17,000 offenders in New Jersey, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Now, U.S. passports of convicted pedophiles who are on a state’s public sex offender registry will be stamped with the identifier: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212 (c)(I).”

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Churches, Synagogues One Step Closer to Receiving Disaster Assistance

2017/11/17

WASHINGTON— Within the President’s $44 billion request on Friday to address ongoing hurricane recovery efforts is a critical provision that Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) has been fighting for since Hurricane Sandy. The Administration is supporting policies to enable houses of worship to be eligible for federal disaster relief, which is exactly what Smith’s bipartisan bill H.R. 2405, Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2017, calls for.

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on Friday, requesting additional disaster assistance for FY 2018 for hurricane recovery efforts, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney stated:

In addition, the Administration notes its support for legislation that would make houses of worship eligible for disaster relief funding (provided they meet the other relevant criteria for private non-profit facilities) and offers technical assistance regarding the timeframe for applicability.”

Smith thanked the Administration for recognizing the needs of churches and faith-based organizations.

“I would like to thank the President for including this critical provision into his supplemental request. Faith-based organizations are hit just as hard as other private non-profits when natural disasters strike,” Smith said.

“They don’t need or want special treatment—but to be totally excluded from recovery programs is unjust and unfair, and discriminatory based on religion. It’s ironic that churches, synagogues, and mosques are among the first to open their doors and serve victims of natural disasters—but also the first to be turned away from disaster assistance.”

This provision will go a long way to helping communities rebuild and recover,” Smith said.

In October, Smith led a letter by members of Congress to President Trump, saying that FEMA’s policy toward houses of worship was “discriminatory” and “a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.” Some churches may not be able to reopen without federal assistance, the letter stated, and thus time is of the essence for the Administration to help them.

In the last 8 years, many churches, synagogues, non-profits, and other religious centers have been denied federal disaster relief because of their religious status, despite both severe—sometimes crippling—damage they may have sustained from natural disasters and essential services they provided to local disaster victims. 

“FEMA’s devastating policy must be changed quickly to provide aid for those currently in need, and so that it does not harm others in the future,” Smith and the other members of Congress stated in the letter.

Yet FEMA’s policy of excluding religious groups from disaster relief is not prescribed by law. Smith’s bill would ensure that houses of worship and religious groups have equal access to disaster assistance as secular organizations.

Smith introduced a version of that legislation in 2013—H.R. 592, the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013—in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as churches and synagogues in New York and New Jersey were not able to receive needed federal disaster relief. That bill, which overwhelmingly passed the House 354-72, was blocked in the Senate by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) on behalf of the Obama administration.

A consortium of faith-based entities, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Republican Jewish Coalition, Christian Legal Society, Agudath Israel of America, the International Conference of Evangelical Christian Endorsers, and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America have come out in support of Smith’s policy proposal.

There is precedent for this inclusive policy. After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, Congress overruled FEMA’s policy of denying relief to churches damaged in the attack; after an earthquake in Seattle in 2002, FEMA was ordered by the Justice Department to grant assistance to local religious organizations which suffered damage.

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Smith Awarded for 20 Years of Fighting Trafficking

2017/11/15

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) received the Lifetime Pathbreaker Award from the anti-sex trafficking group Shared Hope International on Wednesday, for his work over the span of two decades in fighting human trafficking.

“We used to think that trafficking was something that primarily happened to foreigners in the U.S., and now we know that it can happen to any vulnerable person, of any age, of any nationality,” Smith, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, said in his remarks Wednesday upon reception of the award.

“The wheels of justice turned slowly over the last 20 years, but they have carried us to a place in the United States and internationally where the fight against human trafficking cuts across political parties and borders, national and international institutions. What started with the effort of a few has become the cause of many,” Smith said.

The Lifetime Pathbreaker Award is given by Shared Hope International to defenders of trafficking victims who have fought against apathy or inaction on the injustice. Smith was honored for originally being a “lone voice” on human trafficking while many others were unaware of the extent of the problem.

Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International, lauded Smith as a visionary in the fight against human trafficking, noting that “if there hadn’t been a vision of this man, we would not be standing here today.”

“The heart of Chris Smith is what is being carried on in this movement,” she said before presenting Rep. Smith with the award.

Smith was also honored for authoring and sponsoring the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA), the first law that clearly defined the problem of human traficking. He has since authored three additional anti-human trafficking laws, including the International Megan’s Law which became law last year and established further safeguards against registered sex offenders seeking to travel, and who have convictions for sex crimes against children.

We already are seeing very good fruit” from that law, Smith said, noting that he has just received reports that over 1,600 sex offenders have been turned away from entering countries because of the law. Because of the law’s provisions, countries, when notified that an offender is seeking to enter their borders, can either turn such people away or monitor them closely.

Smith also introduced the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017, which authorizes over $520 million over four years for trafficking prevention and prosecution, and victim assistance. It also encourages hotels to implement training and trafficking prevention programs, and strengthens the State Department’s ability to hold foreign countries accountable on trafficking.

Yet despite greater awareness today of the problem of trafficking, “the work continues,” Smith said. “It will never stop.” He noted that there are still 25 million labor traffickers and 5 million sex trafficking victims, numbers which are “not encouraging.”

He lauded Shared Hope International as a group that “has made such a difference” as a “game-changer” on fighting trafficking.

To read excerpts of Smith’s remarks, click here

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Smith’s End Tropical Diseases Act Marked Up in Committee, Will Move to House Floor for Vote

2017/11/15

Congressman Chris Smith’s (R-NJ) bill, The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act (H.R. 1415), was adopted by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday morning, moving it one step closer to the House Floor for a vote.

“H.R. 1415 deals with a group of seventeen parasitic, bacterial, and viral diseases which blind, disable, disfigure, and sometimes kill victims from among the more than one billion of the world’s poorest people,” Smith, chairman of the House global health subcommittee, stated on Tuesday.

“These diseases trap the most marginalized communities in a cycle of poverty,” Smith said. “H.R. 1415 will support the control and elimination of NTDs [natural tropical diseases] in the U.S. and abroad.”

The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act would improve the U.S. response to NTDs like Ebola, rabies, leprosy, and other blinding and disabling diseases afflicting  over one billion of the poorest people in the world in the tropical regions like in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

Outbreaks of some of these diseases have also been reported in the U.S. and other developing countries as of late. And they have, in the past, shown an ability to spread and threaten to become pandemics like with the Ebola and Zika viruses, and now with a plague outbreak in Madagascar.

Smith’s bill would try improve efforts by USAID to respond to these diseases, and would seek to bring together efforts by various federal agencies and aid programs to develop and distribute medicines to treat NTDs.

“This legislation emphasizes field research by USAID on the impact of treatments that helps future application of often lifesaving medicines,” Smith said.

The bill would also call on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to support centers of excellence for NTD research, training, and treatment.

Experts have testified that these diseases are “the most important diseases you never heard of,” affecting almost all of the world’s poorest  which, if left untreated, can keep them in poverty.

“These diseases not only can keep children from attending school and their parents from working, they also cause excessive bleeding by mothers during birth and result in low birth weight babies,” Smith said.

“The most common NTDs can be controlled and eliminated with the application of low-cost donated medicines. However, there is still much work to be done to prepare for currently unknown diseases that may appear on the international scene and to reach the World Health Organization’s control and elimination goals by 2020.  To achieve these goals, heightened support is needed now from both new and longstanding partners.”

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<span class ="kicker">News Transcript Article on Smith Announcement</span>'Navy halts plan to let civilians live on base'

2017/11/14

By MARK ROSMAN, Managing Editor -

The U.S. Navy has abandoned a plan that would have permitted civilians to live in housing on Naval Weapons Station Earle in Monmouth County. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced that after nearly a year of negotiations with high-ranking officials of the Navy, the Pentagon has cancelled plans to open housing on NWS Earle to non-military personnel.

The Navy's plan to permit civilians to live in rental housing on an active base drew sharp criticism from municipal, county and state officials when it was initially announced.

"I want to thank the Navy for the commitment they made nearly a year ago at a meeting in my office to hear our concerns and to conduct their own due diligence in pursuing the issues we raised about security, safety and other impacts their plan could have had on ojur communities," said Smith, who represents Colts Neck, Tinton Falls and other communities surrounding the base. "They remained true to their word and as good neighbors they are taking their own actions to address their excess housing capacity without burdening the community and local taxpayer," he said.

Smith credited former and current Navy officials for their professional approach to community objections to the plan, according to a press release.

He said that in December 2016, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Dennis McGinn instituted a 60-day suspension of the housing plan after a meeting in Smith's Capitol Hill office with Navy officials, Smith, state Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Colts Neck Committeeman (now mayor) Russell Macnow.

At that meeting, Smith also presented the concerns of Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry and a detailed letter from Tinton Falls Board of Education President Peter Karavites and Vice President Bill Holobowski, according to the press release. Smith noted that the 60-day suspension was stretched to nearly a year in which regular discussions continued, the Navy studied the suitability and capacity requirements for housing on the base, and made internal adjustments to attract more military personnel to the units.

Some of the changes made by the Navy include offering units to single sailors and offering financial incentives for military families to live on the base, according to the press release.

After being informed of the Navy's decision, Macnow shared the news with residents, saying, "Colts Neck is relieved the Navy saw the wisdom in denying its housing contractor the option of renting on-base housing to unaffiliated civilians.

"Colts Neck has steadfastly maintained that the security concerns engendered by allowing unaffiliated civilians to reside on the base far outweighed any potential benefit.

"We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Congressman Smith and Sen. Beck for working tirelessly to assure the continued safety of the residents of Colts Neck and surrounding communities, as well as the men and women of the United States armed forces who live and work on the base every day," Macnow said.

Smith added, "After many months of a detailed review process that included base visits, study and meetings, Steven Iselin, the acting assistant secretary for installations, advised that he and his boss, the new Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, remain mindful of the concerns of the community and have initiated discussions with the housing partner to begin the process of reducing the inventory."

"I am particularly grateful to ASN Iselin and his team, as well as Capt. Pierre Fuller, commander of NWS Earle, and his predecessor Capt. Steingold, for their hands-on approach and their decision to put community concerns above a private contract that, in this particular case, has outlived its usefulness," Smith said.

In an October 2016 letter to McGinn, Smith said the proposal to open up base housing was "fraught with security concerns, as well serious challenges to local systems" such as schools and emergency services. Smith said given the fact that "our nation has been exposed to numerous national security threats in the homeland since the original signing of the lease agreement (with a third party)... it is evident this type of housing venture is no longer practical and in fact a security risk here at Earle."

Commenting on the Navy's decision, Beck said, "We used every tool in our toolkit to express our concerns that allowing civilians to rent housing on NWS Earle, an active ammunition depot, would create unnecessary security risks for our community. " Beck said the on-base housing at issue will still be available to active duty military personnel, retired military personnel and veterans.
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Congressman Smith’s Statement on the Tax Bill

2017/11/13

Congressman Smith’s statement on H.R. 1, the tax bill under consideration in the House this week:

While I believe Americans are overtaxed and need relief, I must vote “no” this week on the tax bill, H.R. 1, because of its negative impact on New Jersey and my congressional district.   

Almost half – 47% ‒ of the taxpayers in my district itemize, claiming an average of $31,981 in deductions.

The elimination – even modification – of the state and local tax deduction (SALT) will significantly increase taxes for many. That’s unacceptable, and reason enough to oppose the legislation. Making matters worse are other provisions in the legislation that nullify or significantly scale back numerous well-crafted deductions including the medical deduction – utilized by 40,000 taxpayers in my district, largely the elderly and disabled, with an average deduction of $9,254 – as well as deductions for student loans, education, property damage, and mortgages, among others. 

 

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Smith Speaks at Preview of Exhibit Commemorating Genocide Victims, Survivors

2017/11/13

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) spoke on Sunday at the preview and ribbon cutting of a new exhibit commemorating the victims and survivors of three different genocides, at the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education (Chhange).

The exhibit, “Journeys Beyond Genocide: The Human Experience,” is housed on the campus of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ. It is a dynamic exhibition featuring powerful testimonies of local Holocaust and genocide survivors, and showcases their archival items.  Over 100 people attended the VIP preview of the exhibit, which covers three previous genocides: the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi people in Rwanda.

“The promise of the genocide convention remains unfulfilled,” said Smith, who in 2000 held the first-ever U.S. hearing on the Armenian Genocide of 1915, as part of an attempt to pass a Congressional resolution recognizing the atrocities committed against the Armenians as a genocide.  “The goals of the genocide convention of 1948 are to prevent and punish genocide.  Prevent.  We have failed.  We need to do more,” Smith said on Sunday.

He went on the say that, “It is my hope that exhibits such as this will educate and hopefully sensitize more and more people, including our young people, to realize that they have a stake in this.”

The Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education at Brookdale Community College was founded in 1979. It seeks to educate students and residents in the area about the history of genocide and human rights, and has previously hosted genocide survivors as volunteers and as speakers.

“We do not study the past because we love old things. We study the past because it can serve as a compass to help us understand the world in which we live today, and to navigate our way to the world to which we seek to give shape,” Dr. Debórah Dwork, Rose Professor of Holocaust History at Clark University and Founding Director of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

, stated. “Journeys Beyond Genocide: The Human Experience is just such a compass.”

Dr. Dwork helped put the exhibit together.  

Included among the intimate reflections and personal items on display at the exhibit is a quote that Smith made on April 12, 2015, at the opening of Chhange’s 100th anniversary commemorative exhibit on the Armenian genocide.

“Genocide is the most terrible crime a people can undergo, or another people can commit. It must never be forgotten–to forget it would be to dull our consciences and diminish our own humanity. The campaign to deny this [Armenian] genocide. . .keeps the Armenian genocide a burning issue and prevents much needed healing of old wounds. . . .We must write and speak the truth so that generations to come will not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Only 20 Nations around the world have recognized the Armenian Genocide. That includes Canada as well as eleven EU countries. . . . Conspicuously absent from the list of nations that have officially recognized the Armenian Genocide is the United States of America. . . .When political leaders fail to lead or denounce violence, the void is not only demoralizing to the victims but silence actually enables the wrongdoing. . .History has taught us that silence is not an option. We must do more.”

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New Jersey Hospital Association Names Smith Legislator of the Year

2017/11/09

Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) was named a Legislator of the Year by the New Jersey Hospital Association on Thursday.

Smith, along with fellow New Jersey Reps. Leonard Lance (R) and Frank LoBiondo (R), was honored by the association at its Fall Membership Luncheon in Princeton, NJ for his support for affordable health care access for everyone, and in particular his vote to protect Medicaid during this last round of health care reform in Congress. Approximately 150 CEOs, hospital trustees, government relations officers, and others from the state of New Jersey were in attendance.

In his speech accepting the award, Smith thanked the association for its work and advocacy on health care reform and ensuing quality health care for all.

Below are excerpts of Smith’s remarks on receiving the award:

Thank you for this award. 

But more importantly— thank you! NJ Hospital Association – for your extraordinarily effective advocacy, timely dissemination of accurate and critical information and admonishment to do what is right especially during the most recent healthcare reform debate.

Thank you—for crunching the numbers and sweating the details to ensure that all potential health care consequences, pro and con, are truly understood—before we vote. So, when bad outcomes follow bad laws, you are justified in saying I told you so.

As a member of congress for 37 years, I have always respected and relied on NJHA recommendations.

As Chairman and founder of several congressional caucuses including autism, Alzheimer’s, Lyme disease, and now the Heart and Stroke caucus, I especially appreciate and admire your mission – and the noble work – ­you and members of the association undertake.  

As prime author of major federal laws to assist persons with disabilities including autism, I am especially grateful for NJHA’s commitment to quality, accessible and affordable health care—for all.

As Chairman of the Global Health Committee, I have seen the lack of fundamental healthcare—and hospitals in particular – in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  That contrast, makes me even more grateful for all that you do to preserve wellness and to heal.

Finally, I am confident that together we will meet the challenges ahead – and they are significant—from work to protect Medicare; the imputed floor; disproportionate share hospitals; and 340b drug pricing.

Congratulations to Cathleen Bennett as she takes over as President and CEO of the NJHA and best wishes and thanks to Betsy Ryan for her tenacious work on behalf of NJ’s patients and hospitals.

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Chairman Smith Opening Statement at Hearing on Political Crisis in Democratic Republic of the Congo

2017-11-14 19:38:38


Smith Delivers Remarks on Alzheimer’s Caregiving at Capitol Hill Briefing

2017-11-14 18:51:14


Smith Accepts Legislator of the Year Award from the New Jersey Hospital Association on Thursday.

2017-11-14 19:32:13


Smith pushes bill to sanction Iran, Russia, and North Korea

2017-07-25 19:29:05


Child Abduction is Child Abuse: Rep. Smith calls for real enforcement of the Goldman Act

2017-04-06 18:04:12


Rep. Chris Smith opens a hearing on Africa's Quiet Famine

2017-03-28 20:47:13


Rep. Chris Smith chairs hearing on Anti-Semitism Across Borders

2017-03-22 16:13:14


Chris Smith: Stop Coercing States to Fund Planned Parenthood

2017-02-17 14:33:10


Chris Smith Speaks on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

2017-01-24 20:52:17


Rep. Chris Smith: Support Working Group on Tick-borne Disease

2016-12-01 16:10:17


Rep. Chris Smith: Iran Sanctions Extension Act is a Must Pass

2016-11-16 19:29:03


Update by Rep. Smith: We expect passage on Kevin and Avonte's Law

2016-10-03 17:21:59


Rep. Chris Smith on Obama Veto: Don't choose Saudi King over 9/11 Victims

2016-09-28 20:29:35


Rep. Smith urges support for our 'Jersey Girls' and other 9/11 families

2016-09-09 18:26:34


House Passes Smith's Bill to Give Gold Star Families a Voice

2016-09-06 20:44:55


Rep. Smith opening statement on the Goldman Report

2016-07-14 20:23:01


Rep. Chris Smith: Brazil a textbook case for sanctions

2016-07-14 19:30:46


Rep. Chris Smith: Bindu Philips' Kids Should Come Home

2016-07-14 19:03:31


Rep. Smith on the Conscience Protection Act

2016-07-13 17:35:57


President Obama's epic failure of diplomacy in Vietnam

2016-06-22 19:20:17


Contact Information

2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3765
Fax 202-225-7768
chrissmith.house.gov

Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.

According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.

He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.

Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.


Serving With

Frank LoBiondo

NEW JERSEY's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom MacArthur

NEW JERSEY's 3rd DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Rodney Frelinghuysen

NEW JERSEY's 11th DISTRICT

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