Matt Smith – President
Matt Smith is President of Catholic Advocate bringing over 17 years of experience in grassroots, campaign, legislative and executive branch fields to running the day-to-day activities of the organization. Mr. Smith served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison during the administration of President George W. Bush.
At the White House, Mr. Smith was the lead staff member responsible for Presidential events; building coalitions for Presidential priorities such as Supreme Court nominees and various policy initiatives; and continuous outreach to numerous constituency groups including conservatives, Catholics, Christian denominations, the military community, veterans, think tanks, and the Amateur and Professional Sports Community.
Mr. Smith is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award for actions on September 11th and the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Commendation. In 2003, he was invited to join the official U.S. Presidential Delegation to the Vatican for the Holy Father’s silver anniversary and the beatification of Mother Teresa.
At the VA, he was responsible for a staff of more than 40 public affairs officers, speechwriters, field directors and media specialists of the second largest cabinet department with over 250,000 employees and a $90 billion annual budget. After the loss of personal data for 26.5 million veterans in May 2006, he played a leading role in the development of the legal, policy, and public affairs responses to protect those affected. In March 2007, Mr. Smith was named by Secretary Jim Nicholson as Senior Advisor on the President’s Interagency Task Force on Returning Global War on Terror Heroes. The mission of the task force was to identify gaps in care and focus on improving the delivery of federal programs to returning members of the Armed Forces serving in Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.
After completing his education at Ball State University, Mr. Smith worked as a field representative for the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee. Following the 1996 elections, he moved to Washington D.C. and began working for U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana serving as Legislative Aide, Deputy Press Secretary and acting-Press Secretary. During the 1999/2000 Republican Primary, Mr. Smith was the National Deputy Communications Director and National Press Secretary for the Bauer for President campaign. After the primaries, he joined the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign, where he served as the Midwest Media Director, responsible for all earned media in ten battleground states. He was also the Miami-Dade County Media Director during the 2000 Florida re-count activities. Through the Bush-Cheney transition, Smith worked on the Secretary of Education and Attorney General confirmation teams.
Mr. Smith resides in a Virginia suburb outside Washington D.C. with his wife Karen and their children Carter, Noah, and Avery where he is active in the Knights of Columbus.