March 26, 2002 11:00 pm

U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith will be in La Grande Monday to address students involved in the Eastern Oregon University distance-education nursing classes and to talk to nurses at Grande Ronde Hospital.

At 3:30 p.m., Smith will be at Inlow Hall to speak on the importance of rural nursing.

At 4 p.m., he will shadow a student nurse and hear the concerns of area nurses.

Smith said that last year he obtained $500,000 in federal funds for the new EOU Science Center and he is now working on securing $1.5 million to expand the Frontier Delivery rural nurse training program.

The Republican from Pendleton is a co-sponsor of the Nurse Reinvestment Act, passed by the Senate in December. It addresses the nations nursing shortage through more aggressive recruitment efforts and the establishment of a national nurse service corps.

Also during the Senates spring break, Smith will meet at 11 a.m. Monday in Pendleton with the board of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians to discuss a variety of issues. At 1 p.m., he will be at the Columbia Basin Agriculture Research Center in Adams for a tour.