Bill Thomas: Hale & Farewell

By March 7, 2006General

Just wanted to add our two cents to Neil’s find ave to Bill Thomas, below. Yesterday, House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) announced his retirement after nearly three decades in the house. Throughout his tenure, he has developed a reputation for being whip smart, tenacious, hard-working and, OK, a little bit irascible. There is no doubt he drove his staff and colleagues hard and did not suffer fools. He also knew a good cigar as well as a thing or two about cars — both probably little-known facts to most of the Congressional and lobbying community. In person, socially, he is entertaining, and as the former professor that he is, he always — always — loves the debate.

Bill Thomas will retire with a reputation for smarts and toughness. He drove his colleagues hard, drove his staff hard, too. But as everyone who knows Bill Thomas will tell you, he never drove anyone as hard, never expected more from anyone than he did from himself. He leaves with a track record of legislation from health care to trade, and with it an enduring mark on history.

We look forward to working with him for the remainder of his tenure. There will never be another member of Congress quite like Bill Thomas.