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Marshalltown representative now House Democratic Leader

(Radio Iowa) – Democrats in the Iowa House have a new leader. Representative Mark Smith of Marshalltown has taken over from Kevin McCarthy, who resigned to take a job in the attorney general’s office.

“I think we’ve had excellent leadership from Leader McCarthy during some very difficult times when there was legislation that we didn’t agree with, but I will continue with the themes of rebuilding the middle class and working to bring back the Democratic majority in the House,” Smith said late Monday afternoon during an interview with Radio Iowa.

House Democrats chose Smith as their leader during a private meeting Saturday. Smith said he was chosen for a variety of reasons.

“I think my organizational skills, my ability at winning elections and communicating the message that we think is important that Iowans hear,” Smith said.

Smith is in the middle of his seventh term as a House member. He is now responsible for recruiting Democrats to run for the House — and raising tens of thousands of dollars to finance those 2014 campaigns.

“It was a busy weekend,” Smith said. “I started calling, talking with people, meeting with people as soon as the election was over and I haven’t stopped.”

Smith was born in Osceola and graduated from Winterset High School. He earned a masters in social work from the University of Iowa and is currently director of special projects at the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa. He moved to Marshalltown in 1986. He and his wife, Karen, are the parents of one adult daughter and two adult foster sons.