Joshua Smith’s relationship with the Libertarian Party began about 10 years ago, shortly after he left the U.S. Navy and returned to civilian life.“I was just kind of jaded with the military industrial complex, especially the wasteful spending,” he said.Although he was registered as a Republican, Smith said he didn’t really fit under a traditional political umbrella.Then he heard Ron Paul speak in 2008, when Paul sought the Republican presidential nomination, and “he really just opened my mind to libertarianism and personal freedom,” Smith said.He joined the party but a year later became dissatisfied with its organizational structure and left.Smith returned to the party in January 2017, and he’s back in a big way as the Region 5 representative for the party, overseeing Clark County, as well as Cowlitz, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties. He’s also running against incumbent Nicholas Sarwark for Libertarian National Committee chairman.“I think that I can help move our nation forward toward a more free society,” Smith said. “I believe I have the chops and skills to do so.”At 34, almost 35, Smith is shedding some parts of his youthful persona to prepare for the national spotlight. Gone are the gauged ears and he has plans to remove a tattoo behind his left ear that he’s regretted for the last 15 years. He’s eliminating the things that might detract from the message he wants to get across.