Tom Cole

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Tom Cole
Tomcole.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded byJ. C. Watts
Oklahoma Secretary of State
In office
1995–1999
GovernorFrank Keating
Preceded byGlo Henley
Succeeded byMike Hunter
Oklahoma State Senator[1]
In office
1989–1991
Personal details
Born(1949-04-28) April 28, 1949 (age 64)[1]
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA[1]
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ellen Cole
ChildrenMason Cole
ResidenceMoore, Oklahoma
Alma materGrinnell College (B.A.)
Yale University (M.A.)
University of Oklahoma (Ph.D.)
OccupationCollege Professor
Political Consultant
ReligionMethodist
 
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Tom Cole
Tomcole.jpeg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded byJ. C. Watts
Oklahoma Secretary of State
In office
1995–1999
GovernorFrank Keating
Preceded byGlo Henley
Succeeded byMike Hunter
Oklahoma State Senator[1]
In office
1989–1991
Personal details
Born(1949-04-28) April 28, 1949 (age 64)[1]
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA[1]
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Ellen Cole
ChildrenMason Cole
ResidenceMoore, Oklahoma
Alma materGrinnell College (B.A.)
Yale University (M.A.)
University of Oklahoma (Ph.D.)
OccupationCollege Professor
Political Consultant
ReligionMethodist

Thomas Jeffery Cole (born April 28, 1949) is the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 4th congressional district, serving since 2003. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is a Deputy Majority Whip. The chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2006 to 2008, he was, during his tenure, the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House. As of 2012, Cole – a member of the Chickasaw Nation – is one of only two registered Native Americans in Congress (the other being fellow Oklahoman Markwayne Mullin).

Early life, education, and educating career[edit]

Although born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Cole is a fifth-generation Oklahoman, having been raised in Moore, Oklahoma. He graduated from Grinnell College in 1971 with a B.A. in history. His postgraduate degrees include an M.A. from Yale University (1974) and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma (1984), both in British history. Cole did research abroad as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow and was a Fulbright Fellow (1977–78) at the University of London. He was a college professor in history and politics before becoming a politician.

Early political career[edit]

Following his mother Helen, who served as a state representative and senator, Cole served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1988 to 1991, resigning mid-term to accept a job in Washington. From 1995 to 1999, he was Oklahoma's Secretary of State under Governor Frank Keating, and assisted with the recovery efforts following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He has also served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Cole has been heavily involved in national politics as well, having served both as Executive Director of the NRCC and as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Cole spent two years working as a paid consultant for the United States Chamber of Commerce, but his primary involvement in politics was as a political consultant for candidates. Along with partners Sharon Hargrave Caldwell and Deby Snodgrass, his firm (Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass and Associates) played a large part in the reconstruction of Oklahoma's political landscape, and backed a number of candidates that took office during the Republican Revolution of 1994. Among their clients have been Keating, J.C. Watts, Tom Coburn, Frank Lucas, Mary Fallin, Wes Watkins, Steve Largent, former Mississippi congressman Chip Pickering, and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

During his initial campaign for the House of Representatives in 2002, Cole received the endorsement of Watts, the popular outgoing congressman. This helped him win a hard-fought general election over Democratic nominee and former Oklahoma State Senator Darryl Roberts. Cole subsequently won easy re-election campaigns in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012.

Tenure[edit]

Following the 2006 election cycle, the members of the House Republican Conference elected Cole to the post of NRCC Chairman, placing him in charge of national efforts to assist Republican candidates for Congress.

His voting record during his nine years in the House marks Cole as a solid conservative with occasional libertarian sympathies. He has consistently voted pro-life and pro-business positions, and established himself as a supporter of free trade, gun rights, the military, veterans, and American Indian issues. He favors loosening immigration restrictions and imposing stricter limits on campaign funds. In 2012, he sponsored H.R. 5912 which would prohibit public funds from being used for political party conventions. The legislations passed the House in September but awaits action by the Senate.[2]

Cole has consistently voted against positions supported by lobbies for senior citizens, labor unions, and teachers' unions. However, he was critical in brokering protections for DOD civilian workers.[1]

In June 2013, after another failure of the United States farm bill in Congress, Cole called the failure of the legislation inexcusable. His district in Oklahoma includes some of the state’s farming communities, and if the Farm Bill passed, it would have saved $40 billion over a ten-year period.[3]

Committee membership[edit]

As of the 112th United States Congress, Tom Cole is a member of the following U.S. House committees:

Electoral history[edit]

Oklahoma's 4th congressional district: Results 2002–2012[4]
YearDemocratVotesPctRepublicanVotesPct3rd PartyPartyVotesPct
2002Darryl Roberts91,32246%Tom Cole106,45254%
2004(no candidate)Tom Cole198,98578%Charlene K. BradshawIndependent56,86922%
2006Hal Spake64,77535%Tom Cole118,26665%
2008Blake Cummings79,67429%Tom Cole180,08066%David E. JoyceIndependent13,0275%
2010*(no candidate)Tom Cole32,58977%RJ HarrisRepublican9,59323%
2012Donna Marie Bebo71,15527%Tom Cole176,56168%RJ HarrisIndependent11,7255%

Education policy[edit]

In 2013, Cole introduced the Home School Equity Act for Tax Relief. The bill would allow some homeschool parents to take tax credits for purchasing classroom materials.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Cole and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason. He is a member of the United Methodist Church and lives in Moore.

Cole has said, "I was raised to think of myself as Native American and, most importantly, as Chickasaw."[6]

Cole has said that a great aunt of his was the Native American storyteller Te Ata.[6]

Cole has said, "... [My] mother Helen Cole[7] was... extraordinarily proud of our Native American history and was, frankly, the first Native American woman ever elected to state senate in Oklahoma."[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.)". Roll Call. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2010-11-25. 
  2. ^ "H.R. 5912: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions". Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Casteel, Chris (June 21, 2013). "Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole, Jim Bridenstine Disagree on Farm Bill". NewsOK. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  5. ^ Jim East, "Legislation would give home school families access to education tax deduction", The Ripon Advance, August 28, 2013. (Retrieved August 28, 2013)
  6. ^ a b c Native American Heritage Month Keynote Address (Speech). Library of Congress. 2007-11-06. http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=4216. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
  7. ^ Helen Cole

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. C. Watts
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th congressional district

2003–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Carter
R-Texas
United States Representatives by seniority
153rd
Succeeded by
Mario Diaz-Balart
R-Florida
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thomas M. Reynolds
New York
Chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Pete Sessions
Texas