The Representative for All of District 158
Madeline Ryan Smith is a native Georgian, born in Savannah. In 1997, Madeline was adopted by her parents, along with her older brother. Raised in a politically and religiously diverse family, Madeline was taught the value of honesty, communication, responsibility and above all, respect and love for your fellow human. Motivated for practical change in our world, Madeline Ryan Smith has set her standards high, and will not stop fighting until we have become a state that can lead by example into 2024.
Madeline is not waiting until she has been elected to begin creating these changes. Nominated in 2022 as the Vice Chair of Communications for the Bulloch County Democratic Committee, Madeline Ryan Smith is helping to generate change within her community by bridging the gap between residents and the party. By echoing the voices of Bulloch County residents, Madeline is helping to ensure that the party is always working in the best interest of the community.
In 2023, Madeline Ryan Smith was elected as the Disability Caucus Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia. This position will help Madeline further advocate for the disability community throughout the state of Georgia. Madeline Ryan Smith is passionate about disability rights and due to the long term effects of Covid-19, the disability community is growing rapidly and is in dire need of representation.
For her, running for this office means a chance for change, for growth, and to bring new life into rural Georgia. Through supporting our public education system, our family farms and expanding access to healthcare, District 158 can count on Madeline to give a voice to rural Georgia in the Gold Dome, and ensure all of her community members have opportunity for success and prosperity.
To learn more about Madeline's campaign for GAHD 158, please explore our positions tab and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
At just a few days old, Madeline was adopted by her parents, who had also adopted her older brother the year before. In 1999, her family moved to Charlotte, NC, where they lived for 15 years. From a young age, Madeline was active in sports, her church, and the Girl Scouts. During high school, she was on her varsity dive team all 4 years and was able to participate in an exchange program to Germany her sophomore year.
Living with a Disability
At 8 years old. Madeline was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic eye disease that causes an individual to lose their vision over time. At 18, Madeline had lost enough vision to no longer be able to drive, so she traded her 2004 VW for a 2016 yellow labrador, Mercury! Matched in 2018, Mercury became Madeline’s first guide dog, and has been her eyes and navigator since! As a woman with a disability, Madeline has been a strong disability advocate since becoming blind and works for accessibility rights and policy.
In 2016, Madeline started as an undergraduate at Georgia Southern University. She obtained a Bachelor’s in Psychology, with two minors in Gerontology and Child & Family Development. As an upperclassman, Madeline was selected to present her own research at two conferences and earned the Research Scholar Award from GSU’s School of Human Ecology. For her Masters, Madeline also attended Georgia Southern, where she received her Master of Arts in Social Science, with a concentration in Sociology. During her graduate program, she was able to present several pieces of research on topics such as Older Adult Memory Care, Active Euthanasia and Women with Disabilities. By the end of her program, Madeline had interned with Mayor Jonathan McCollar of Statesboro, co-founded Students with Disabilities Advocacy Group, and was inducted into Kappa Alpha Delta Sociological Honors Society. Since graduating in May, Madeline has been focused on District 158 and what she can do to keep pushing her community forward.
Stepping into Politics
"Running for office was never something I saw myself doing. Funny enough, I don't think people who know me are surprised I'm jumping into the ring. I think this is more of a calling, and a call to action that chooses you. Great leaders know that their movements aren't about them; they're about the people that make up and build movements. You must to have a passion for people to lead them. You need humility, you need honesty, but above all, be willing to listen."
- Madeline Ryan Smith