Shap Smith, a Democrat, was first elected to the Vermont House in 2002.
Early in his House career he was a member of the Ways & Means and Joint Fiscal Committees. On December 6, 2008, House Democrats, who held a 95–48 majority, nominated Smith to be the next Speaker of the Vermont House. He was elected Speaker on January 8, 2009, and was re-elected on January 5, 2011, January 8, 2013, and January 7, 2015.
On August 20, 2015, Smith announced his candidacy for the 2016 Democratic nomination for Governor. In November he withdrew, following his wife’s breast cancer diagnosis. Smith indicated in his withdrawal announcement that he was ending his campaign in order to spend more time with his wife during her treatment.
Smith announced in May 2016 that he would be a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, citing his wife’s improved health and a desire to continue a career in public service