Vincent Thomas

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Vincent Thomas
State Assemblyman, 68th District
San Pedro, California
In office
January 1941 – January 1975
Preceded by Fred Reaves
Succeeded by Walter M. Ingalls
State Assemblyman, 52nd District
San Pedro, California
In office
January 1975 – January 1979
Preceded by Floyd L. Wakefield
Succeeded by Gerald N. Felando
Personal details
Born (1907-04-16)April 16, 1907
Mississippi Biloxi, Mississippi
Died January 1980 (aged 72)
California San Pedro, California
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician
Religion Roman Catholic

Vincent Tomasevich-Thomas (April 16, 1907- January 1980) was a Democratic Party politician from California who represented San Pedro's 68th and 52nd Districts in the California Assembly from 1941 to 1979.[1]

Childhood and education[edit]

Born in Biloxi, Mississippi, Thomas was the third of eight children of Croatian immigrants who came to America in 1903.[2] His family moved from Mississippi to Oakland, California in 1917, and then to San Pedro in 1919. In 1928, he graduated from San Pedro High School. He received a Bachelor Degree from the University of Santa Clara in 1932 and attended the University of Santa Clara and Loyola Law Schools from 1932 to 1936. He worked as a minor sports coach and physical education instructor while in college. He also played football for Santa Clara.[3]

After graduating law school, Thomas did not open his own practice, but found a job in a fish processing factory that was owned by Martin J. Bogdanovich, a fellow Croatian from the Island of Vis. While with the factory, Thomas was encouraged to engage himself in politics.[4]

Political career[edit]

Thomas entered politics and was successful in his first run for office in 1940, resoundingly defeating Charles M. Smith to become the State Assemblyman for the 68th District representing San Pedro.[5] While in the Assembly, Thomas worked to improve the California commercial fishing industry, and to provide programs for public recreation, senior citizen services, the disabled, transportation and education.

He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations. Thomas had the longest record of service in the Assembly and was known affectionately as "Dean of the Assembly". In 1974, his district was redrawn as the 52nd Assembly District. Ultimately, he served in the Assembly for 19 consecutive terms, until his first defeat in a re-election bid by Republican candidate Gerald N. Felando in 1978.[6]

Vincent Thomas Bridge[edit]

Originally slated to be called the "San Pedro-Terminal Island Bridge" when construction began in 1960, in 1961 the California Legislature passed Concurrent Resolution 131 naming the suspension bridge planned between San Pedro and Terminal Island for Thomas in honor of his foresight and untiring work that culminated in its construction. The bridge was dedicated as the Vincent Thomas Bridge and opened to traffic on November 15, 1963. Thomas paid the very first toll, which was then 25 cents.[7]

Death[edit]

Thomas died in San Pedro, California in January 1980 at the age of 72.[8]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "JoinCalifornia - Candidate Biography - Vincent Thomas". Alex Vassar & Shane Meyers. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  2. ^ "Croatian-American Personalities Directory - Vincent Tomasevich-Thomas". Adam S. Eterovich. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Almanac - Vincent Thomas". Given Place Publishing Company. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  4. ^ "Croatian-American Personalities Directory - Vincent Tomasevich-Thomas". Adam S. Eterovich. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  5. ^ "JoinCalifornia - Election History for the State of California - 11/5/1940". Alex Vassar & Shane Meyers. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  6. ^ "JoinCalifornia - Election History for the State of California - 11/7/1978". Alex Vassar & Shane Meyers. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  7. ^ "Port of Los Angeles - Vincent Thomas Bridge". Port of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles. Archived from the original on 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Social Security Death Index for Vincent Thomas". World Vital Records, Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
Preceded by
Fred Reaves
California State Assemblyman, 68th District
1941–1975
Succeeded by
Walter M. Ingalls
Preceded by
Floyd L. Wakefield
California State Assemblyman, 52nd District
1975–1979
Succeeded by
Gerald N. Felando