Craig Lyle Thomas
February 17, 1933 - June 4, 2007
Senator Thomas was 74 years old. Official website biography follows:
Craig Thomas is Wyoming's senior voice in the United States Senate. His efforts in job creation and economic growth are the foundation of his work to improve the quality of life for people in rural America. During his tenure in Congress, he has forged a distinguished legislative record on issues as diverse as public land management, agriculture, fiscal responsibility and rural health care.
In 1989, after years of involvement in public policy and rural advocacy, Craig Thomas won a highly competitive special election to replace Dick Cheney in the House of Representatives, when Cheney was appointed Secretary of Defense. He was first elected to the United States Senate in 1994, and to a second term in 2000 by an overwhelming 74 percent majority -- one of the largest margins in Wyoming election history. He was re-elected to a third term in 2006 with 70 percent of the vote.
In the U.S. Senate, Senator Thomas has built a solid reputation as one of the most fiscally conservative members of Congress with a particular emphasis on addressing quality of life issues facing families in the rural American West. Senator Thomas has positioned himself on committees which have the greatest impact on the legislation of concern to Wyoming.
The Thomas record includes authoring, as Chairman of the National Parks Subcommittee, landmark legislation to provide critical funding and management reforms to protect America's national parks into the 21st Century. As a result, his visionary legislation has helped to ensure quality visits to our national parks. In addition, the legislation serves to protect natural and cultural resources, and direct new resources to our nation's parks system. Senator Thomas' efforts have been routinely recognized by the National Parks and Conservation Association who honored him with their "William Penn Mott, Jr. Park Leadership Award" and subsequently with the National Parks Achievement Award.
As a senior member of the Senate's influential Finance Committee, he makes his mark on issues such as Social Security, trade, rural health care, and tax reform. As co-chair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, Senator Thomas has worked successfully to improve health care opportunities for rural families. His legislative initiatives have been instrumental in reforming and strengthening the rural health care infrastructure by encouraging greater equity with urban counterparts, better affordability of services, and by attracting qualified health care professionals.
Craig Thomas was raised on a ranch near Cody, but has made his home in Casper for more than 20 years. He attended public schools and graduated from the University of Wyoming in Laramie with a degree in Agriculture. After college, he served four years in the United States Marine Corps. He has served as vice president of the Wyoming Farm Bureau, and general manager of the Wyoming Rural Electric Association. Before his election to the U.S. House, he held office for five years in the Wyoming State Legislature. Craig is married to Susan Thomas, a public school teacher for special needs students. He has four grown children.
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