Alfred E. Smith (1873 — 1944)
"All the ills of democracy can be cured by more democracy."
A leader in the Irish Catholic community, Smith was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1903 and served as vice chairman of the commission appointed to investigate factory conditions after 146 workers died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911. In its aftermath, Smith crusaded against dangerous and unhealthy workplace conditions and championed corrective legislation. He was elected governor of New York in 1918. During his term, he improved New York laws governing workers' compensation, women's pensions and child labor restrictions ahead of many other states.