A graduate of Howard University in 1994, Councilmember Smith’s interest in politics and community participation started when he was very young. Jarrett was raised by parents who served in the United States military and as government employees. Growing up living and traveling to different parts of the United States and abroad because of his father's Army deployments, Jarrett the opportunity to see the United States in comparison to other countries through the "lens" of service. Born with natural leadership skills, as Jarrett became an adult, his interest in service and community grew.
In 2004 Jarrett moved to Takoma Park and became involved with the Takoma Park Commission on Landlord Tenant Affairs (COLTA), the Washington Adventist Hospital LandUse Committee (WAHLUC), and Accion USA. His business and personal interest in real estate led him to his appointment to the Chairperson role of COLTA for 2 consecutive terms until his election to City Council in 2012 for Ward 5. COLTA is a body that adjudicates and mediates issues between Landlord and Tenant Relationships in the city of Takoma Park. The commission also rules on petitions for rent increases above the rent stabilization allowances as well as decides appeals on City Manager decisions to deny, suspend, or revoke a rental license for housing or commercial use. Being the most important commission to the city of Takoma Park due to to the fact that approximately 50% of Takoma Park residents are renters, Jarrett’s involvement gave him a breath of knowledge about the community and residential legislation. With his rulings always based on evidence and the law, during his tenure, Councilmember Smith’s decisions on cases brought before him were the least overturned by formal court appeals over the 3 year period he served as chairperson.
Always a proponent for small businesses and fiscal prosperity, Councilmember Smith’s volunteer efforts for Accion USA was to understand available financial solutions to small businesses perceived to be disadvantaged. He sought understanding beyond traditional financing methods, and wanted to share his knowledge. Having understood there were financial advocates for small business startups, Jarrett was interested in making an impact assisting small businesses in obtaining the capital they needed for growth as well. Accion USA is a non-profit micro-lending organization that is focused on bringing affordable micro-financing solutions to small business owners who need options. With a nationwide reach and being the largest domestic micro-lending network, Accion has helped thousands of small business owners grow and thrive. Since its inception, Accion has lent over $272 million to small business owners.
Through his participation Jarrett had began to have an understanding of his community in a very unique way. The fact that the largest business entity in the city of Takoma Park was Washington Adventist Hospital, at the formation of the Washington Adventist Hospital Land Use Committee (WAHLUC), Jarrett would again see a purpose he wanted to become involved in. The WAHLUC was formed to serve as an advisory group to the Takoma Park City Council. The charter for the organization was to advise on issues associated with the future use of the hospital’s campus in the event the hospital relocated its headquarters outside of Takoma Park’s Ward 5. The committee was in place for a fixed amount of time, but during his involvement, Councilmember Smith established himself as one of Takoma Park’s thought leaders. Jarrett also discovered he was his fascinated with politics and made the decision to compete in a special election to represent the city as the Councilmember Representative for Ward 5.
After his being elected to city council, Jarrett immediately became more involved in matters that were of importance to Takoma Park, the state of Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC. Through this involvement, Jarrett was appointed to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and now serves on their Human Services and Public Safety Policy Committee (HSPSPC). MWCOG is an independent nonprofit association that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia. MWCOG’s membership is comprised of 300 elected officials from 22 local governments, Maryland and Virginia state legislatures, and the U.S. Congress. MWCOG’s Health and Human Services branch deals with a broad range of activities led at the regional level. These activities include public health initiatives such as communicable disease control, substance abuse, regional notification & monitoring, and child welfare. The HSPSPC is an advisory body of elected officials, department managers, and MWCOG directors. The goal of the HSPSPC is to provide supervision on human services and public safety matters for the MWCOG Board of Directors. From this body, guidance is given for matters involving: law enforcement, fire & emergency, medical services, emergency management, corrections, animal services, public health, mental health, substance abuse programs, and child welfare. This organization, became just the beginning for times when matters of concern for the general public's well being made Jarrett sought after for his ingenuity.
Having a very busy “to do” list, since being elected the first time in as the legislative representative for Takoma Park's Ward 5 in July 2012, Jarrett’s vision and priorities for Ward 5 and its 3,000 constituents remain clear. His priorities continue to be focused on education, healthcare, civic participation, fiscal prosperity, and green communities. Willing to challenge the status quo some of Councilmember Smith’s accomplishments include:
- Elected and re-elected to Takoma Park City government to represent Ward 5 for 2 terms; many votes cast
included ‘’first time” voters.
- Raised $2.3M for a major construction redevelopment effort in the city of Takoma Park’s Flower Avenue
Green Street corridor; effort involved funding from the Federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP), the State Highway Administration, and Montgomery County.
- Maryland Municipal League Summer 2015 Convention Speaker & Panel Member; The
discussion/presentation topic: “Smart Growth America in Takoma Park”, execution of the $2.3M Flower
Avenue Green Street re-development initiative in Takoma Park’s Ward 5.
- Conceived and developed a scholastic achievement program titled “Lunch & Learn” that is a youth summer
literacy program featuring breakfast and lunches while enrollees learn or improve math, reading, and
spelling skills. Program is designed to close the achievement gap that exists among youth who are
underprivileged vs. privileged. The program is a public sector and private institution partnership now in its
- Conceived and administered a “kick start” $20,000 Anti-Littering initiative in 2013 for the city of Takoma
Park; program’s intent was to promote no littering in the city through education and cleanup programs
primarily focused on hotspots; a yearly set aside of $12,000 is used to maintain the program’s success.
- Supported Safe Grow Act 2014, which bans the use of pesticides on both residential and commercial lawns
in the city of Takoma Park. Realizing that the Safe Grow Act for Takoma Park was part of a national effort,
Councilmember Smith developed and included language in the Safe Grow Act legislation for Takoma Park
that ensures regular water testing of Sligo Creek to ensure its safety. Testing offers the security that
through city storm water or waste removal, no dangerous chemicals flow from Sligo Creek into the
Chesapeake Bay. Through this advocacy, a very large institution in Takoma Park stopped its pesticide use
before the ordinance went into effect. Additionally, this effort garnered the city of Takoma Park national
- Responsible for a paradigm shifting voting initiative in 2013 that amends the Takoma Park voting laws to
allow disenfranchised former felons the ability to vote once they have been released from incarceration and
become residents of Takoma Park.
- Authored a Gazette online newspaper formerly affiliated with the Washington Post Op-ed titled “Takoma
Park Passed Other Voter Reforms” in May 2013 bolstering an issue important to the Democratic Party;
made a couple of television appearances covering 2 of his community programs, and has been quoted
several times in various newspapers; Not being shy about expressing his views, each week Councilmember
Smith also issues a newsletter to his constituents and supporters in an effort to being certain he is
- Derailed a Montgomery County Zoning Text Amendment effort in 2015, which is unprecedented in that it
was a major Takoma Park institution’s effort to change city land use laws, which ultimately apply to all of
Montgomery County. Mobilized community activists, city elected officials, and county elected officials to
stop the proposal while it was still in the Planning Housing and Economic Development Committee.
- Sponsored numerous benevolent efforts throughout the city including a Takoma Park youth backpack
program featuring free backpacks with school supplies to youth recipients; Orchestrated a free Food Pantry
grocery deliver service for eligible recipients monthly that began in 2013.
- Spearheaded a Takoma Park based Non-Profit’s college bound program funding supplementation by
garnering the support of the entire Takoma Park City Council to award $15,000 to the organization; this was
a first time direct grant to the organization from the city.
- Marshaled a $35,000 grant to Takoma Park based Non-Profit whose mission is to empower the most
disadvantaged in our community by analyzing their greatest needs and facilitating actions to address those
- Successfully proctored a $2,500 grant to support a Takoma Park based non-profit organization’s application
to former Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown’s Health Enterprise Zone initiative. In so doing, Jarrett
garnered the attention and support of Maryland senior veteran political leaders: County Executive: Ike
Leggett, Maryland State Senator: Jamie Raskin, Former Maryland State Delegate & Gubernatorial Candidate:
Heather Mizeur, and Maryland State Delegate: Tom Hucker.
- Hospital relocation involvement: Washington Adventists Hospital’s (WAH) relocation is the right decision for
the WAH institution’s business needs. While the hospital’s impending departure was of significant concern
for many residents of Takoma Park, and healthcare being a major trigger for Councilmember Smith, Jarrett
proactively partnered with the organization’s leadership to maintain Takoma Park’s health and wellness
service expectations regardless of the hospital’s headquarter location.
- 2015 Martin Luther King Community Event keynote speaker and master of ceremonies; Speech’s subject
matter was of universal importance about opportunity.
- Appointed to the Maryland Chapter of the Local Leaders Council - The organization is comprised of 220
National members and is invitation only. It is the Smart Growth America organization whose composition is
made up of elected and appointed officials including: Governors, business owners, bicycle activists, parents,
and organizations across the country. The organization’s efforts toward ensuring smart growth include:
Coalition Building, Policy Development, and Research.
Through all of his accomplishments, Jarrett believes in the community of Takoma Park. Takoma Park is known as one of the most liberal and progressive cities in the United States. The latter is something every resident of Takoma Park can be proud of. A proponent for continuous advancement, Councilmember Smith once said, “change takes participation”. Nimble with respect to his Ward 5 responsibilities, Jarrett’s vision has been shaped by the lens of his early childhood observations. Jarrett invites the participation of every resident in the city of Takoma Park. It is through participation, the city can continue to thrive, maintain its progressive status, and lead the nation.Councilmember Smith is a devout Roman Catholic and operates a commercial real estate practice with Capital CREAG. He is an avid reader, movie enthusiast, golfer, and fisherman. He and his wife live in Ward 5 of Takoma Park, Maryland.