Bill Thomas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas, official photo portrait color.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byWilliam M. Ketchum
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
Personal details
Born(1941-12-06) December 6, 1941 (age 72)
Wallace, Idaho
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sharon Thomas
ResidenceMorro Bay, California
Alma materGarden Grove High School, Santa Ana College, San Francisco State University
Occupationcollege professor
ReligionBaptist
 
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Bill Thomas, see Bill Thomas (disambiguation).
Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas, official photo portrait color.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 2007
Preceded byWilliam M. Ketchum
Succeeded byKevin McCarthy
Personal details
Born(1941-12-06) December 6, 1941 (age 72)
Wallace, Idaho
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sharon Thomas
ResidenceMorro Bay, California
Alma materGarden Grove High School, Santa Ana College, San Francisco State University
Occupationcollege professor
ReligionBaptist

William Marshall "Bill" Thomas (born December 6, 1941) is an American politician, and a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1979–2007, finishing his tenure representing California's 21st congressional district and as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Early life and family[edit]

Thomas was born in Wallace, Idaho, moving with his parents to the Southern California area. He graduated from Garden Grove High School, attended Santa Ana College, earning an associate's degree before transferring to San Francisco State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in political science in 1963 and 1965, respectively. He became an instructor at Bakersfield College before running for and winning a seat in the California State Assembly in 1974. He won election to the House of Representatives in 1978, representing the 18th congressional district.

Thomas married the former Sharon Lynn Hamilton in 1968. They have two grown children. He and his wife are Baptists.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

When Washingtonian magazine polled congressional aides on the "best and worst" of Congress, Thomas was voted #2 for "brainiest", #3 for "workhorse", and #1 for "meanest" and overwhelmingly for "hottest temper" in the House.[1] Thomas is known for being able to comprehend and communicate the intricacies of obscure legislative matters, studying testimony and research reports himself instead of relying on executive summaries from his aides. Thomas is also known for losing his temper when people are unprepared, earning a reputation for sharp interrogations. "He's revered, but he's also reviled to some degree", fellow representative Mark Foley told CQ Weekly.

Thomas's official portrait

Thomas was a key proponent of several of President George W. Bush's agenda items, including three major tax cut bills and the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (PL 108-173), and was also instrumental in the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

On March 6, 2006, Thomas announced he would not seek reelection, retiring after 28 years in the House. A major influence on his decision was the internal GOP term limits that would require him to relinquish his Ways and Means chairmanship even if he were re-elected.[citation needed] Thomas endorsed a former aide, Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, who was elected to replace him.

In 2007, after leaving the House, Thomas joined the American Enterprise Institute as a visiting fellow working on tax policy, trade policy, and health care policy.[2] Thomas also joined law and lobbying firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.[3]

Election history[edit]

Bill Thomas with President George W. Bush and Ways and Means Committee vice chairman Phil Crane at the White House.

Congressional committees[edit]

1992 Congressional banking scandal[edit]

In the 1992 Rubbergate banking scandal, involving House members writing checks when the funds were not available, Bill Thomas bounced 119 checks, the tenth-highest amount for a Republican member of Congress.[4][unreliable source?].

2001 Alleged affair with lobbyist[edit]

The Bakersfield Californian published an article on Thomas about an affair with Deborah Steelman,[5] a lobbyist for Cigna, Pfizer, Aetna, United Healthcare Corporation, the Healthcare Leadership Council, and Prudential. Thomas was then chair of the House subcommittee that regulates HMOs. "Any personal failures of commitment or responsibility to my wife, family or friends are just that, personal," the former congressman wrote in an "open letter to friends and neighbors." Neither he nor Deborah Steelman explicitly denied the allegations. Deborah Steelman was promoted to VP of Eli Lilly, steered huge campaign gifts to Thomas's war chest and the health care industry scored big with the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003.

2003 controversy involving U.S. Capitol police[edit]

In July 2003, Thomas called the U.S. Capitol Police to eject Democrats from a meeting room. A few days later, he tearfully apologized on the House floor for what he called his "just plain stupid" decision to ask the police to eject the Congressmen.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Calendar of Events (washingtonian.com)
  2. ^ American Enterprise Institute, "Former Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas Joins AEI," news release, February 13, 2007.
  3. ^ Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, "Former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas Joins Buchanan," news release, May 2, 2007.
  4. ^ "Republicans in Rubbergate". 
  5. ^ "Patrick Kennedy". Retrieved 2002-10-01. 
  6. ^ Novak, Robert (2003-07-24). "Thomas's 'police state'". cnn.com. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 
  7. ^ "Tears From the Gruff Chairman". New York Times. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2006-12-30. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William M. Ketchum
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 18th congressional district

1979–1983
Succeeded by
Richard H. Lehman
Preceded by
Barry Goldwater, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 20th congressional district

1983–1993
Succeeded by
Calvin M. Dooley
Preceded by
Elton Gallegly
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 21st congressional district

1993–2003
Succeeded by
Devin Nunes
Preceded by
Lois Capps
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 22nd congressional district

2003–2007
Succeeded by
Kevin McCarthy
Political offices
Preceded by
Charlie Rose
North Carolina
Chairman of House Administration Committee
1995–2001
Succeeded by
Bob Ney
Ohio
Preceded by
Bill Archer
Texas
Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee
2001–2007
Succeeded by
Charles Rangel
New York