Bruce Smathers

Bruce Smathers bigraphy, stories - American politician

Bruce Smathers : biography

October 3, 1943 –

Bruce Armistead Smathers (born October 3, 1943) was a member of the Florida State Senate (Committees: Education, Governmental Operations, Ways and Means) and then was elected to and served as Secretary of State of Florida from 1975 – 1978.

As Secretary of State, Smathers reformed election laws, modernized the Division of Corporations, became involved in the "Atocha" treasure dispute, expanded support for cultural affairs, and was best known as leader of the successful effort to preserve Florida’s Historic State Capitol (1845–1978). Smathers was the youngest member of the Florida Cabinet in the twentieth century at his time of entry. The six members of the Florida Cabinet and the Governor then constituted the State Board of Education, and administered the Department of General Services, the Department of Criminal Law Enforcement, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Revenue and the Internal Improvement Trust Fund. (The cabinet was substantially changed in 1998).

After serving as Secretary of State he launched an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign losing to Bob Graham.

He is the younger son of George Smathers, former Congressman and U.S. Senator for Florida. After attending the St. Alban’s School,,973607 Smathers earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from Yale University (with honors) and a law degree from University of Florida (law review). A NROTC graduate, he joined Underwater Demolition Team Eleven, served with Naval Special Warfare Pacific, and was a decorated Vietnam War Veteran. After his political career, he combined law with lobbying, running family orange and automobile businesses, and became a successful investor serving on various private and charitable boards.

He presently resides between Jacksonville, FL, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL and Cordillera, CO and with wife, Susan Gamble, they have a son, Bruce, Jr.


  • Smathers was college roommates with two different members of Congress. Smathers roomed with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) during undergraduate studies at Yale University. Smathers roomed with Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL 4th) while studying at the University of Florida College of Law.