By Dave Andrusko
Over the decades of the fight for life, there have been many, many heroes who have served in political office. To try to compose even a partial list would risk omitting many great servants.
But among those who have served the longest and accomplished the most for unborn children is Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), leader of the House Pro-life Caucus. I have known Chris for over three decades as have other National Right to Life veterans. All of us consider it a huge privilege.
Tuesday night, three representatives from NRLC attended the unveiling of the official portrait of Congressman Smith (NJ-04), that recognized his years working for veterans and his term as Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee: NRLC Executive Director David O’Steen, Ph.D.; Co-Executive Director, Darla St. Martin; and NRLC Senior Legislative Counsel Susan Muskett, JD.
Dr. O’Steen and Mrs. St. Martin have been personal friends of Rep. Smith since the 1970s when he was the executive director of a pro-life organization in New Jersey.
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According to Rep. Smith’s office, the bipartisan event included the Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, former Veteran Affairs Secretary Tony Principi and the heads of the America Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as other Members of Congress and veterans’ leaders.
South Carolinian Michael Del Priore, the national award-winning portrait artist, painted Rep. Smith’s official portrait. Mr. Priore had previously painted Ronald Reagan as well as another pro-life champion, Congressman Henry Hyde, and other congressional dignitaries
Even though this award was for service outside the single-issue pro-life realm, what was said Thursday night about him speaks volumes about the kind of man Chris is.
After explaining all that Smith had done for veterans, Majority Leader Cantor concluded
“I have gotten to know Chris over the years… and I often call Chris the ‘moral compass’ of the House.” Cantor added, “He is an upstanding and honorable servant for the people of New Jersey and the people of America. It is my great honor to be here and share in this celebration.”