Forwarding Address for Ousted Official?

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 30, 2006

A l Smith, the outgoing Charles County commissioner who lost his bid for board president earlier this month, may be packing his bags for good.

Smith said he may soon leave Charles County and is considering a move to a small city in Arizona, South Carolina or Utah. If he moves, the Republican said, he hopes to get involved in public life and would consider a run for office in his new community.

"If I can't be elected as the guy that I am, then maybe I need to just forget about that in Charles County and we'll go set down new roots in a new place and start our new lives again," Smith said.

Before seeking election, he said, "I'd have to get the lay of the land and get myself acclimated and get to know the people."

After serving six years as a commissioner from Waldorf-based District 3, Smith lost his race against Wayne Cooper (D), 57 percent to 43 percent.

"Politically in Charles County, I just don't think there's a future. I accept that and I understand that," Smith, 62, said.

Smith said he and his wife, Maggie, have been considering moves to Scottsdale, a booming high-tech suburb of Phoenix; Hemingway, S.C., a tiny rural town known for its barbecue; and the Utah ski resort towns of Alta and Sundance. He said he believes voters in those four places would be more receptive to his conservative politics than voters in Charles County.

"Where I would love to go is to go back to the rural charm and character of a place . . . where you don't have a whole lot of development going on and you can enjoy the things that are so free in life, like birds coming down and floating in a pond, things that Ronald Reagan enjoyed so much when he went back to his ranch in California," Smith said, evoking his cowboy hat-wearing political idol.

Smith owns and operates a shop in Waldorf that makes rubber stamps and seals. Since the election, he has been booking engagements to deliver motivational speeches around the country about patriotism and the American flag. He said his next speech will be at an aviation electronics trade show in Florida, where he will be the keynote speaker before about 3,500 attendees, many of them from the military.

Smith said he could leave his Waldorf business and his personal farm in a matter of weeks: "I can make a lot of things happen pretty quick when I've got my mind to it."

Reporter Moves to SMECO

One of Maryland's top political reporters is leaving newspaper journalism to become the public and media relations director at Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, the electric utility.

Thomas Dennison will be SMECO's primary spokesman and act as a liaison with business organizations and local governments. Dennison most recently was chief of the Annapolis State House bureau for Southern Maryland Newspapers, which publishes the Maryland Independent, Calvert Recorder and the Enterprise.

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