In 2018, the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) launched the inaugural Public Service Academy (PSA). The PSA was created to address the decreasing number of lawyers in legislative positions. Mr. Smiley was 1 of 29 candidates from across the state selected as part of the inaugural PSA. A steering committee that consisted of elected officials from West, Middle, East Tennessee meticulously vetted each candidate. Although the selected cohort consisted of all lawyers, each participant had different political ideologies.
When asked about being selected to participate in the PSA Mr. Smiley stated, “I’m grateful for the opportunity to represent Memphis. I’m also excited to learn from and work with some of the best legal minds in this great state”
During the first session, Mr. Smiley had an opportunity to see how an attorneys’ voice, time, dedication, and commitment as a legislator could make a difference in communities and the lives of others. Hearing from present and former legislators increased Mr. Smiley’s passion to return and serve the Memphis community. After the first session, Mr. Smiley had a greater understanding of work-life balance and what it means to be a public servant.
“The second session was dynamic!” Smiley enthusiastically stated. It was all about the intimate details of campaigning. On the last day of the academy Former Mayor of Memphis, AC Wharton, highlighted the importance of timing and opportunity when running for public office. Mr. Wharton told the cohort that “ When you know you know. You will get a gut feeling that it is the right time”. For Mr. Smiley, that time is now.