Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.

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Thomas J. Bliley, Jr.
TomBliley.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by George F. Allen
Succeeded by Eric Cantor
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by David E. Satterfield III
Succeeded by Robert C. Scott
Chairman of the House Commerce Committee
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Preceded by John Dingell
Succeeded by Billy Tauzin
69th Mayor of Richmond, Virginia
In office
July 1, 1970 – March 7, 1977
Preceded by Phil Bagley
Succeeded by Henry L. Marsh, III
Personal details
Born Thomas Jerome Bliley, Jr.
(1932-01-28) January 28, 1932 (age 82)
Chesterfield County, Virginia
Political party Republican (after 1980)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (before 1980)
Spouse(s) Mary Virginia Kelley
Religion traditionalist Roman Catholic

Thomas Jerome "Tom" Bliley, Jr. (born January 28, 1932) is a United States Republican politician and former U.S. Representative from the state of Virginia.[1]

Background[edit]

Bliley was born on January 28, 1932, in Chesterfield County, Virginia. He attended private Catholic schools and graduated in 1948 at the age of 16 from Benedictine High School in Richmond, Virginia. In 1952, Bliley earned a B.A. in Political Science from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. He subsequently served as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1952 to 1955. He worked as a funeral director for Joseph W. Bliley Co. Funeral Home, a family business, eventually serving as President.

Bliley, a practicing Roman Catholic, is married to the former Mary Virginia Kelley and is the father of two, Thomas J. Bliley III and Mary Vaughan (Bliley) Davies Utter. Bliley has two granddaughters, Jenny and Kathy Davies. Bliley has two grandsons, Thomas J. Bliley IV and Shawn Bliley, a step-grandson, Joseph Glen Utter, III, and two greatgrandsons, Christian Douglas Davies and Aiden Noah Davies.

Political career[edit]

In 1968, Bliley was elected vice-mayor of Richmond. He held that post until 1970, when he successfully ran for mayor, a position he held until 1977. Bliley grew up as a conservative Southern Democrat, but became a Republican sometime after his term as mayor. In 1980, Bliley won the Republican nomination for Congress representing Virginia’s 3rd congressional district after 12-year incumbent David Satterfield announced his retirement. He won by a large margin, becoming the first Republican to win an undisputed victory in the district since Reconstruction. (In 1890, the House awarded Republican Edmund Waddill the seat after a disputed election.) The 3rd, however, had been trending Republican for some time at the national level. It had been one of the first areas of Virginia where the old Byrd Democrats started splitting their tickets and voting Republican, and had not supported a Democrat for president since 1948.

Bliley was reelected five times from this district with almost no difficulty. After the 1990 census, the Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly began the process of redistricting the state. It was faced with a Justice Department order to create a majority-black district in order to comply with the Voting Rights Act. The legislature responded by shifting most of Richmond, which by this time had a black majority, into a new, majority-black 3rd district. Bliley's district was renumbered the 7th, and retained most of the whiter and wealthier sections of Richmond, along with several suburbs. Bliley now represented the most Republican district in Virginia, and he was handily reelected to four more terms, retiring in January 2001.

In 1995, when the Republican Party gained majority control of the Congress, Bliley was elected Chairman of the House Commerce Committee, a position he held for six years. In that influential role he was a principal author of several important laws including the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, also known as the "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act."

Elections[edit]

  • 1980; Bliley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives with 51.65% of the vote, defeating Democrat John A. Mapp, Independent Howard Hearness Carwile, and Libertarian James B. Turney.
  • 1982; Bliley was re-elected with 59.24% of the vote, defeating Democrat John A. Waldrop.
  • 1984; Bliley was re-elected with 85.62% of the vote, defeating Independent Roger L. Coffey.
  • 1986; Bliley was re-elected with 67.04% of the vote, defeating Democrat Kenneth E. Powell and Independent J. Stephens Hodges.
  • 1988; Bliley was re-elected unopposed.
  • 1990; Bliley was re-elected with 65.53% of the vote, defeating Democrat Jay Stark and Independent Rose L. Simpson.
  • 1992; Bliley was re-elected with 82.87% of the vote, defeating Independent Gerald E. Berg.
  • 1994; Bliley was re-elected with 84% of the vote, defeating Independent Berg.
  • 1996; Bliley was re-elected with 75.11% of the vote, defeating Democrat Roderic H. Slayton and Independent Bradley E. Evans.
  • 1998; Bliley was re-elected with 78.71% of the vote, defeating Independent Evans.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Plaintiffs Gain Tobacco Industry Documents". The New York Times. 7 April 1998. p. 23. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David E. Satterfield III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 3rd congressional district

1981–1993
Succeeded by
Robert C. Scott
Preceded by
George Allen
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

1993–2001
Succeeded by
Eric Cantor
Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Bagley
Mayor of Richmond, Virginia
1970–1977
Succeeded by
Henry L. Marsh
Preceded by
John Dingell
Michigan
Chairman of the House Commerce Committee
1995–2001
Succeeded by
Billy Tauzin
Louisiana