January 11, 2024

Ricketts, Smith Lead Nebraska Delegation Effort to Rename North Platte Federal Building After Representative Virginia Smith

January 11, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) and Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE-3) introduced legislation to rename the federal building in North Platte, NE the “Virginia Smith Federal Building.” The bill is also supported by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Representatives Mike Flood (R-NE-1) and Don Bacon (R-NE-2).

Virginia Smith was the first woman elected to Congress in Nebraska, serving the Third Congressional District from 1975-1991. The North Platte Federal Building is located at 300 E. 3rd St. in North Platte, Nebraska.

“Virginia Smith represented the best of our state,” said Senator Ricketts. “She was a trailblazer and tireless champion for rural Nebraska. She fought to ensure farmers and ranchers had a seat at the table in the appropriations process. This bill will ensure this legendary Nebraskan gets the recognition she deserves.”

“A member of the Greatest Generation, Virginia Smith’s determination to defy expectations was forged in the hardships of farming during the Great Depression,” said Representative Smith. “In Congress she fiercely defended the interests of agriculture producers and championed development of Third District resources throughout the turbulent economic conditions of the 1970s and the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Her extraordinary life and service, marked by a deep commitment to the people of Nebraska, will be aptly honored by the naming of this building. I thank Senator Ricketts and my fellow members of the delegation for their cooperation on this legislation.”

“Virginia Smith’s life is a testament to Nebraska’s pioneer spirit,said Senator Fischer. “Our resolution to designate the North Platte Federal Building in Congresswoman Smith’s memory will honor her legacy as a tireless advocate for the people of Nebraska and a trailblazer for women in politics.”

“Congresswoman Virginia Smith is a giant in the story of our state,” said Representative Flood. “For sixteen years, she was a voice for agriculture in Congress who built a deep connection with the four corners of her large district by visiting each county annually. Giving this North Platte facility her name is one small way we can honor her legacy and celebrate her outstanding work to advocate for the Third District in Washington.”

“Virginia Smith was a champion for Nebraska,” said Representative Bacon. “We honor her legacy as the first woman elected to represent Nebraska in Congress. She brought a lifetime of experience in agriculture and used her sixteen years in office to advocate for Nebraska farmers. The resolution will ensure generations to come are reminded of this great Nebraskan.”

Bill text can be found here.



Virginia Smith was born Virginia Dodd on June 30, 1911 in Randolph, Iowa. She earned a B.A. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 1936. She later served in many agricultural and civic groups, including the United States Department of Agriculture’s Home Economics Research Advisory Committee, the White House Conference on Children and Youth, and Chaired the Presidential Task Force on Rural Development.

From 1955-1974, Smith was the American Farm Bureau Women national chairwoman before winning election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. Smith and her late husband, Haven, lived in Chappell, Nebraska.

During her tenure in Congress, Smith served on the Appropriations Committee and before that, the Education and Labor Committee. She was the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.