Thomas C. Sawyer

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Tom Sawyer
Thomas C. Sawyer 102nd Congress 1991.jpg
Tom Sawyer as Representative from Ohio, 1991
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 28th district
Assumed office
February 20, 2007
Preceded by Kimberly Zurz
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by John F. Seiberling
Succeeded by Steve LaTourette
58th Mayor of Akron, Ohio
In office
January 9, 1984–December 30, 1986
Preceded by Roy Ray
Succeeded by Don Plusquellic
Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 44th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – December 31, 1983
Preceded by Paul Wingard
Succeeded by Tom Watkins
Personal details
Born (1945-08-15) August 15, 1945 (age 71)
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Joyce Sawyer
Children 1
Residence Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Alma mater University of Akron (B.A., M.A.)
Profession Educator

Thomas C. "Tom" Sawyer (born August 15, 1945) is the state Senator for the 28th District of the Ohio Senate.[1] Previously, he served in the United States Congress, in the Ohio House of Representatives and as the Mayor of Akron.[1] His district includes almost all of the city of Akron.[2] He is a Democrat.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sawyer was born in Akron, Ohio.[3] After graduating from Buchtel High School in Akron,[3] Sawyer received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Akron in 1968.[3] He also joined the Alpha Phi Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. Later, Sawyer earned a master of arts degree from Akron in 1970.[3] He worked as an English teacher before seeking political office.[4]

Mayor of Akron[edit]

In November 1983, Tom Sawyer defeated the incumbent Republican Mayor of Akron, Roy Ray, in a close election.[4] Sawyer was the first Democrat to be elected Mayor of Akron in over 18 years.[4] No Republican has held the mayor's seat in Akron since Sawyer upset Ray in 1983.[5]

On December 20, 1984, during Sawyer's first year as mayor, an explosion at the Akron Recycle Energy System plant caused the deaths of three people.[6] Sawyer helped manage the aftermath of the tragedy and assisted in the investigation.[6] Speaking to the New York Times, Sawyer noted that S&W Waste, of Kearny, N.J., had sent the Akron plant waste materials containing highly flammable chemicals on the day of the explosions.[6]

United States Congress[edit]

Sawyer successfully ran for US Congress in the 1986 midterm elections and took office on January 3, 1987.[7] He would then serve eight terms in Congress.[7]

Congressman Sawyer gained notoriety as Chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing the 1990 census.[8] He made national news with his study of the 1990 census and subsequent determination that it had failed to count at least 2 million black Americans.[9] Sawyer and others then attempted to readjust the census figures to include a more accurate count of black Americans and the US population as a whole. These efforts were met with stiff opposition.[9][10] When the Secretary of Commerce refused to adjust the census totals, Congressman Sawyer called the decision a "gerrymander on a national scale."[10]

Notable votes[edit]

In 1993, Sawyer voted for President Bill Clinton's federal budget bill.[11]

Sawyer voted against the now-criticized[12] Welfare Reform Act of 1996.[13]

He also voted against the impeachment of President Clinton.[14] On the House floor during this debate, Sawyer quoted Sir Thomas More in defense of Clinton and in condemnation of the Congressional impeachment proceedings.[15]

Sawyer voted against authorization for the deployment of United States armed forces in Iraq.[16]

One of the most controversial votes cast by Tom Sawyer during his time in the U.S. House of Representatives was his vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).[17][18][19] Sawyer called his vote "the toughest decision I've ever had to make in public life."[19]

Exit from Congress[edit]

2002 primary campaign[edit]

A round of redistricting following the 2000 census redrew Ohio's congressional map. The state lost a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.[20] A newly configured district, the 17th, placed large parts of Youngstown in the same district as parts of Akron.[20][21] The new district most closely resembled the one recently vacated by U.S. Representative Jim Traficant, who had been convicted on corruption charges and sent to federal prison.[22] Traficant's protege, State Senator Tim Ryan, defeated Tom Sawyer in a late upset.[18] Sawyer outspent Ryan 6-1, but ultimately lost the election.[18] Despite maintaining high pro-union ratings throughout his career, Sawyer's vote for NAFTA is often credited at the reason Tim Ryan defeated the 8-term Congressman.[17][18][21]

2006 primary campaign[edit]

Sawyer again sought to return to Congress during the 2006 Democratic primary.[23] He aimed to replace then-Congressman Sherrod Brown in the 13th district, after Brown vacated the seat to run for the US Senate.[23] However, former State Representative Betty Sutton won an 8-way primary and went on to win the general election with support from national Democrats and EMILY's List.[23]

Ohio Senate[edit]

When Akron-based State Senator Kim Zurz was appointed to run the Ohio Department of Commerce in Spring of 2007, Sawyer was selected by legislative leaders to fill the vacancy.[24]

As a member of the Ohio Senate Controlling Board, Sawyer voted to adopt Medicaid expansion in Ohio.[25][26] Ohio's Medicaid expansion covered thousands of Ohioans who previously did not have insurance.[27] The state share costs were offset by small insurance and sales taxes.[27]

During the 130th and 131st General Assemblies, Sawyer jointly sponsored resolutions with Republican Senator Frank LaRose to reform the drawing of legislative district lines in Ohio.[28][29][30] The House and Senate eventually passed a version of the senators' proposal and sent it to the Ohio voters as State Issue 1 in November 2015.[31] The resolution passed with 71% of the vote.[32] This law, once implemented, will end the practice of gerrymandering (partisan drawing of legislative district lines) for Ohio legislative districts.[31] Senators Sawyer and LaRose are currently working on a measure that would end gerrymandering at the Congressional level in Ohio as well.[32][33][34]

During the 131st General Assembly, Senator Sawyer helped the legislature adopt House Bill 2 - which was a version of Sawyer's Senate Bill 148[35] - to reform Ohio's charter school oversight laws.[36][37][38][39]

In the November 2008 general election, Sawyer held his Senate seat by defeating Republican James Carr.[40]

In 2012, Sawyer was elected to a second full term, defeating Republican Robert Roush 71.5% to 28.5%.[41] He served as Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee from 2012-14.

Sawyer's tenure in the Ohio Senate concludes at the end of 2016. The state's term limit rules bar Sawyer from seeking the seat for a third consecutive term.[42]

Committee assignments[edit]

Legislative commissions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Sawyer and his wife Joyce have one child and reside in Akron.

Electoral history[edit]

Ohio Senate 28th District: 2008 to 2012
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2012 Tom Sawyer 104,697 71.88% Robert Roush 40,952 28.12%
2008 Tom Sawyer 108,168 68.36% James Carr 50,064 31.64%
Ohio's 14th Congressional District: 1986 to 2000
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Libertarian Votes Pct Independent Votes Pct
2000 Tom Sawyer 149,184 64.80% Rick Wood 71,432 31.00% William Mcdaniel Jr. 5,603 2.40% Walter Keith 3,869 1.70%
1998 Tom Sawyer 106,020 62.73% Tom Watkins 62,997 37.27%
1996 Tom Sawyer 124,136 54.34% Joyce George 95,307 41.72% Ryan Lewis 16 0.01% Terry Wilkinson 8,976 3.93%
1994 Tom Sawyer 89,093 51.90% Lynn Slaby 76,090 48.10%
1992 Tom Sawyer 125,430 67.80% Robert Morgan 64,090 32.20%
1990 Tom Sawyer 90,090 59.60% Jean Bender 66,090 40.40%
1988 Tom Sawyer 159,090 74.70% Loretta Lang 50,090 25.30%
1986 Tom Sawyer 86,004 53.70% Lynn Slaby 73,230 46.30%

*Italics indicate incumbent

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Senator Tom Sawyer (D) - Biography | The Ohio Senate". ohiosenate.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  2. ^ "Ohio Senate Districts 2012-2022" (PDF). Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d "SAWYER, Thomas Charles - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  4. ^ a b c "Daily Kent Stater 9 November 1983 — Kent State University". dks.library.kent.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  5. ^ Jones, Bob (2015-09-07). "Akron mayoral race will became clear after Tuesday's primary election". newsnet5. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "FATAL BLAST IN AKRON IS LAID TO FLAMMABLE WASTE". The New York Times. 1985-02-03. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  7. ^ a b "SAWYER, Thomas Charles - Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  8. ^ Times, Felicity Barringer, Special To The New York (1990-10-05). "After the Census, Hard Questions: Adjust the Count? How? When?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  9. ^ a b Times, Felicity Barringer, Special To The New York (1991-03-12). "2 Million Blacks Not Counted, Head of Census Panel Asserts". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  10. ^ a b Barringer, Felicity (1991-07-16). "U.S. WON'T REVISE 1990 CENSUS, SAYS CHIEF OF COMMERCE". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  11. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 199". Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. May 27, 1993. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  12. ^ Weissmann, Jordan (2016-06-01). "The Failure of Welfare Reform". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  13. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 331". Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. July 18, 1996. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Roll Call: See How Your Representative Voted". partners.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  15. ^ Jr, R. W. Apple (1998-12-20). "IMPEACHMENT: NEWS ANALYSIS; What Next? Don't Guess". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  16. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 455". Office of the Clerk of The United States House of Representatives. October 10, 2002. Retrieved June 7, 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "17TH DISTRICT 4 labor unions endorse Sen. Ryan". www.vindy.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  18. ^ a b c d "A Congressman's Defeat Spells Trouble for Business Democrats". The Nation. ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  19. ^ a b Wines, Michael (1993-11-17). "THE FREE TRADE ACCORD: A Hard-Won Vote; Voting Yes on Trade Accord Is Folly in Rust Belt. Or Is It?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  20. ^ a b "CNN.com - Poll: Traficant trails in re-election bid - May 13, 2002". edition.cnn.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  21. ^ a b Dyer, Bob. "Wild man at heart feels need for speed". www.ohio.com. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  22. ^ Steinberg, Nichole M. Christian, John H. Cushman Jr , Sherri Day, Sam Dillon, Neil A. Lewis, Robert Pear, Terry Pristin, Philip Shenon, Jacques; Report, Leslie Wayne Contributed To This (2002-11-07). "THE 2002 ELECTIONS: MIDWEST; OHIO". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  23. ^ a b c "Ohio Silver!". NPR.org. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  24. ^ "Leader Publications, Akron, Ohio -- Tom Sawyer chosen for District 28 seat". www.akron.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  25. ^ "Controlling Board gives OK to use of federal money to pay for Medicaid expansion in Ohio". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  26. ^ "Medicaid expansion funding gets approval". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  27. ^ a b "A look at the numbers around Ohio's Medicaid expansion". The Morning Journal. July 20, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Sub. S. J. R. No. 8 As Reported by the Senate State Government Oversight and Reform Committee". archives.legislature.state.oh.us. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  29. ^ "Am. S. J. R. No. 1 As Reported by the Senate State Government Oversight and Reform Committee". archives.legislature.state.oh.us. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  30. ^ "Editorial: Fix this ridiculous map". Cincinnati.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  31. ^ a b "Redistricting reform plan passes House, needs voter approval". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  32. ^ a b "Voters approve issue to reform Ohio's redistricting process". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  33. ^ "Ohio senators push for congressional redistricting". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  34. ^ "Reforming congressional redistricting could take time, hinge on opinions of members of Congress". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  35. ^ "Ohio Senate leads on reform". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  36. ^ "Charter-school reforms unveiled in Ohio Senate need tweaks but are a significant step forward: editorial". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  37. ^ "Ohio passes major charter school reform bill; pension controversy to have more study". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  38. ^ "Ohio Senate bill tackles charter school reform". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  39. ^ "Lawmakers pass charter school reform bill". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  40. ^ Ohio Senator: November 4, 2008, Ohio Secretary of State
  41. ^ Husted, Jon 2012 general election results (2012-11-06)
  42. ^ Warsmith, Stephanie. "Vernon Sykes plans to run for Ohio Senate, seeking state Sen. Tom Sawyer's seat; Sawyer to be term limited next year". www.ohio.com. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 

External links[edit]

Ohio Senate
Preceded by
Kimberly Zurz
Senator from 28th District
2007–present
Incumbent
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John F. Seiberling
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th congressional district

1987–2003
Succeeded by
Steve LaTourette