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Legislators Praise Life of Social Advocate, Mourn Loss

Senator Andrew Rice and former Senator Bernest Cain announce with deep regret that Keith Smith passed away last night at Integris Hospital about 11:30 p.m. Final arrangements have not been made, but the funeral and a memorial service will be held here in Oklahoma City sometime in the next two weeks.

“Keith was tireless and determined in his efforts to speak for those who otherwise would have no voice in the legislative process. Whether his issue of the day was the rights of children, women, seniors, the protection of the environment or adequate health care for the poor, or the disabled, Keith was a leader in the fight,” said Senator Rice.

“His energy was boundless and he felt that one of the most important duties of every citizen was to become active in the political process, and he served as an active volunteer in numerous political campaigns whether hosting fund raisers or walking door to door,” said Senator Cain. “Keith’s most endearing attribute was that he never admitted defeat. He might lose one battle, but he always bounced right back strategizing on how to win the war.”

Keith was born on March 4, 1955 in Alva, Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University. He was a member of the National Board of Stonewall Democrats, co-chair of Central Oklahoma Stonewall Democrats, a founder of OGLPC; former ACLU Oklahoma and National board member, a Director of Progressive Alliance Political Action Committee and former Board member of Cimarron Alliance. Keith was the first openly GLBT delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma.

Keith was president of The Smith Group and his clients included ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, Oklahoma Policy Consortium for People with Disabilities and the National Association of Social Workers.

The rewards he received for his hard work in the public arena include the Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award form the ACLU of Oklahoma; the Margaret Sanger Legacy Award from Planned Parenthood of Oklahoma; the Ron Schaffer Memorial Award and Bill Rogers Award of Merit from the Gay and Lesbian political Caucus; the Democracy in Action Award from the League of Women Voters and the Swan Award from the Parents and Families of Lesbians and Gays.

He is survived by his mother and three brothers. Keith asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and the ACLU of Oklahoma Foundation.

Contact info
Senator Rice's Office - (405) 521-5610