|Member of the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees from Area 1|
September 8, 2016 – December 2018
|Preceded by||Rick Wright|
|Succeeded by||Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg|
|Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee|
January 3, 2001 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bill Archer|
|Succeeded by||Charles Rangel|
|Chair of the House Administration Committee|
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||Charlie Rose|
|Succeeded by||Bob Ney|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||William M. Ketchum|
|Succeeded by||Kevin McCarthy|
|Constituency||18th district (1979–1983)|
20th district (1983–1993)
21st district (1993–2003)
22nd district (2003–2007)
|Member of the California State Assembly|
from the 33rd district
December 2, 1974 – November 30, 1978
|Preceded by||Ernest N. Mobley|
|Succeeded by||Don Rogers|
William Marshall Thomas
December 6, 1941
Wallace, Idaho, U.S.
|Residence(s)||Morro Bay, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Santa Ana College|
San Francisco State University (BA, MA)
William Marshall Thomas (born December 6, 1941) is an American politician. He was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1979 to 2007, finishing his tenure representing California's 22nd congressional district and as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Early life and family
Thomas was born in Wallace, Idaho, moving with his parents to Southern California. 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.
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. 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 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. Thomas endorsed a former aide, Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, who was elected to replace him. Following McCarthy's vote to decertify the 2020 presidential election, Thomas said that McCarthy was a "hypocrite" and generally lambasted his behavior in regards to that election. Thomas has criticized McCarthy in several interviews since that time.
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. Thomas also joined law and lobbying firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney.
On September 8, 2016, Thomas was named to the Kern Community College District Board of Trustees for Area 1, filling the seat of Rick Wright. He did not run for reelection in 2018. He was replaced by Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg.
U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means – Chairman (2001–2007)
U.S. House Committee on Administration – Chairman (1995–2001)
1992: Congressional banking scandal
In the 1992 Rubbergate banking scandal, involving House members writing checks when the funds were not available, Thomas bounced 119 checks, the tenth-highest amount for a Republican member of Congress. A brief overdraft of $16,200, occurred in October 1989, as he wrote a $15,300 check to buy a car.
2001: alleged affair with lobbyist
The Bakersfield Californian published an article on Thomas about an affair with Deborah Steelman, 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 Steelman explicitly denied the allegations. She was promoted to Vice President of Eli Lilly, a position which she used to steer huge campaign gifts to Thomas's war chest.
2003: controversy involving U.S. Capitol police
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.
- 1974 – Defeated Raymond Gonzales – 54–46%
- 1976 – Defeated Stephen W. Schilling – 57–43%
- 1978 – Defeated Bob Sogge – 59–41%
- 1980 – Defeated Mary Pat Timmermans – 71–29%
- 1982 – Defeated Robert J. Bethea – 68–32%
- 1984 – Defeated Michael T. LeSage – 71–29%
- 1986 – Defeated Jules H. Moquin – 73–27%
- 1988 – Defeated Lita Reid – 71–27%
- 1990 – Defeated Michael Thomas – 60–34%
- 1992 – Defeated Deborah Vollmer – 65–35%
- 1994 – Defeated John Evans – 69–28%
- 1996 – Defeated Deborah Vollmer – 66–27%
- 1998 – Defeated John Evans – 79–21%
- 2000 – Defeated Pete Martinez – 72–25%
- 2002 – Defeated Jaime Corvera – 73–24%
- 2004 – Unopposed
- "Our Campaigns - CA State Assembly 33 Race - Nov 05, 1974". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- "Our Campaigns - CA State Assembly 33 Race - Nov 02, 1976". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
- "Calendar of Events (washingtonian.com)". Archived from the original on May 18, 2008. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- "Kevin McCarthy Is a Disaster" by A. D. Stoddard. The Bulwark. 1 February 2021. Accessed 1 February 2021.
- "House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy backs away from blaming Trump for Capitol insurrection"by Seema Mehta. Los Angeles Times. 22 January 2021. Accessed 1 February 2021.
- Blitzer, Jonathan (December 19, 2022). "What Kevin McCarthy Will Do to Gain Power". The New Yorker.
- American Enterprise Institute, "Former Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas Joins AEI," news release, February 13, 2007. Archived March 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, "Former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas Joins Buchanan," news release, May 2, 2007. Archived July 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- PIERCE, HAROLD (7 September 2016). "KCCD poised to appoint longtime congressman Bill Thomas to board". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- "Board Members | Kern Community College District". www.kccd.edu. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- LUIZ, JOSEPH (October 2018). "Two seats up for grabs in Kern Community College District race". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- Californian, The Bakersfield (6 November 2018). "SCHOOLS ROUNDUP: Retired teachers win Kern High School District races". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved Aug 26, 2019.
- "Rep. Thomas Admits He Overdrew House Account 119 Times". March 24, 1992. Retrieved July 27, 2021 – via Los Angeles Times.
- "Patrick Kennedy". Retrieved 2002-10-01.[dead link]
- House Medicare Activist Denies Conflict of Interest, Los Angeles Times, Nick Anderson, June 27, 2000. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
- 108th Congress Public Law 173 Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, U.S. Government Printing Office, pp. 2065–6, retrieved July 27, 2021
- Novak, Robert (2003-07-24). "Thomas's 'police state'". cnn.com. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
- "Tears From the Gruff Chairman". The New York Times. 2006-07-26. Retrieved 2006-12-30.[permanent dead link]