Budzinski Honors Labor Leader Ed Smith on House Floor

Jan 11, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) spoke on the House Floor to recognize Southern Illinois native and a lifelong supporter of working people, Ed Smith, who recently passed away. In 1981, Smith began his career with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) as an International Representative, eventually becoming the Legislative Director for the State of Illinois. In 2011, Smith took on the role of CEO at The Union Labor Life Insurance Company (Ullico Inc.) in Washington, D.C., a labor-owned insurance and investment company. Budzinski’s speech honored Smith’s lifetime of work in the labor movement.

WATCH: Budzinski Honors Late Union Leader Ed Smith on House Floor

WATCH: Budzinski Honors Late Union Leader Ed Smith on House Floor

Budzinski’s remarks can be found below: 

Madam/Mister Speaker, I rise today to remember a tireless champion for working people, a mentor, a dear friend and a wonderful human being – Ed Smith.

A native of Southern Illinois and a lifelong supporter of workers, Ed Smith made a difference and inspired so many – including myself.

When I needed a place to stay during the Kerry/Edwards campaign in 2004, Ed and his wife Betty took me in. I’ll always remember Ed waiting up most evenings to have a beer and talk about the latest happenings on the campaign trail. He loved politics and he had the best instincts of anyone I’ve met. And I’ve leaned on him for advice in every step of my career since. 

When I got the idea to run for Congress, and before deciding to run, Ed was one of the very first people to be on board. You never forget the people that believe in you – especially when you have your own doubts.

Ed was special to so many people because he, himself, was a special person.  Always generous, smart, kind, dedicated and full of wisdom.

Ed was like a father to me, and I will miss him so much. Rest in Power my dear friend.

WATCH: Budzinski Honors Late Union Leader Ed Smith on House Floor


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