Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., was elected Tuesday to his sixth term representing Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, defeating Democrat Paul Theobald.
Smith jumped to a large lead in the early election returns Tuesday night. He ended up winning with more than 70 percent of the vote.
Theobald, a Pierce County farmer and educator, was making his first run at Congress. He was unopposed in the primary.
Smith has represented Nebraska’s 3rd District since 2007. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He also serves as chairman of the Congressional Rural Caucus, the Modern Agriculture Caucus, and the Congressional Rural Veterans Caucus.
He is a Gering native whose family has called Nebraska home for six generations. After returning home with a degree from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he was elected to the Gering City Council. He was later elected to represent District 48 in the Nebraska Legislature. Smith was elected to serve the 3rd District in 2006.
Smith and his wife, Andrea, live in Gering with their son, Zeke.
Smith called winning a sixth term “humbling.”
“I think every campaign should be a humbling experience,” he said. “It is a reminder to anyone elected that it is the American people who are really in charge.”
Smith said one of his priorities when he returns to Congress is to help to continue to grow the economy.
“We also need to work to bring folks off the sidelines of our economy,” Smith said.
Third District communities such as Grand Island continue to see growth from the manufacturing sector. But many of those communities struggle to find qualified workers who will fill the needed positions so their industries can continue to grow.
Smith said he has legislation that will help address that issue and explore other options to help communities fill their need for skilled workers.
As farmers in the 3rd District wrap up this year’s record harvest of corn and soybeans, he said he will continue to find new avenues to increase trading opportunities for the commodities grown in Nebraska.
Smith’s 3rd District is among the leaders among congressional districts in corn, ethanol and beef production. As farmers continue to harvest record crops but experience low prices, he said opening up new trade priorities will continue to be another one of his priorities.
He has worked to open international markets for agriculture products and promote ethanol development and other issues important to his predominately rural district.
Another priority will be to reform the nation’s health care system. Smith said access to quality health care is a challenge for the 3rd District because of rising costs and the distance between health care facilities.