Tom Cole: Wikis


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For Tom Cole the Sculler see Tom Cole (Oarsman)

Tom Cole

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by J. C. Watts

Born April 28, 1949 (1949-04-28) (age 60)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Ellen Cole
Children Mason Cole
Residence Moore, Oklahoma
Alma mater Grinnell College, Yale University, University of Oklahoma
Occupation college professor
Religion Methodist

Thomas Jeffery Cole (born April 28, 1949) is a politician from the state of Oklahoma, currently representing Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District (map) in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cole, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2006-2008, was, during his tenure, the fourth-ranking Republican leader in the House. He also serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee, and is a Deputy Minority Whip. As of 2009, Cole — a member of the Chickasaw Nation — is currently the only registered Native American in Congress.



Although born in Shreveport, Louisiana, Cole is a fifth-generation Oklahoman, having been raised in Moore, Oklahoma. He graduated from Grinnell College in 1971 with a B.A. in History. His postgraduate degrees include an MA from Yale University (1974) and a Ph.D from the University of Oklahoma (1984), both in British History. Cole did research abroad as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow and was a Fulbright Fellow (1977–78) at the University of London. He was a college professor in history and politics before becoming a politician.

Cole has a wife, Ellen, and one son, Mason. He is a member of the United Methodist Church and lives in Moore.

Native American Heritage

Cole has said, "I was raised to think of myself as Native American and, most importantly, as Chickasaw."[1 ]

Cole has said that a great aunt of his was the Native American storyteller Te Ata.[1 ]

Cole has said, "...[My] mother Helen Cole was...extraordinarily proud of our Native American history and was, frankly, the first Native American woman ever elected to state senate in Oklahoma."[1 ]

Oklahoma and national politics

Cole is a major figure in contemporary Oklahoma politics. Following his mother Helen, who served as a state representative and senator, Cole served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1988 to 1991 as a Republican, resigning mid-term to accept a job in Washington. From 1995 to 1999, he was Oklahoma's Secretary of State under Governor Frank Keating, and assisted with the recovery efforts following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He has also served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Cole has been heavily involved in national politics as well, having served both as Executive Director of the NRCC and as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee (RNC). He also spent two years working as a paid consultant for the United States Chamber of Commerce. But Cole's primary involvement in politics has been as a political consultant. Along with partners Sharon Hargrave Caldwell and Deby Snodgrass, his firm (Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass and Associates) played a large part in the reconstruction of Oklahoma's political landscape, and backed a number of candidates that took office during the Republican Revolution of 1994. Among their clients have been Keating, J.C. Watts, Tom Coburn, Frank Lucas, Mary Fallin, Wes Watkins, Steve Largent, Mississippi congressman Chip Pickering, and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle.

House career

During his initial campaign for the House of Representatives in 2002, Cole received the endorsement of Watts, the popular outgoing congressman. This helped him win a hard-fought general election over Democratic nominee and former Oklahoma State Senator Darryl Roberts. Cole subsequently won easy re-election campaigns in 2004, 2006, and 2008. Following the 2006 election cycle, the members of the House Republican Conference elected Cole to the post of NRCC Chairman, placing him in charge of national efforts to assist Republican candidates for Congress.

His voting record during four years in the House marks Cole as a solid conservative with libertarian sympathies. He has consistently voted pro-life and pro-business positions, and established himself as a supporter of free trade, gun rights, the military, veterans, and American Indian issues. He favors loosening immigration restrictions and imposing stricter limits on campaign funds. He has consistently voted against positions supported by lobbies for senior citizens, labor unions, and teacher's unions. However, he was critical in brokering protections for DOD civilian workers.[1]

In March 2004, Cole stated in a speech, "What do you think Hitler would have thought if Roosevelt would've lost the election in 1944? He would not have thought American resolve was strengthening. What would the Confederacy have thought if Lincoln would have lost the election of 1864?[2] ...I promise you this, if George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election. It's that simple. It will be interpreted that way by enemies of the United States around the world."[3] Local and national news outlets interpreted the statement as a comparison of Senator John Kerry, Bush's opponent, to Hitler and bin Laden. Cole refused to retract his comments, maintaining he had been misinterpreted.

On October 3, 2008 Rep. Cole voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program[2] believing that the enumerated powers grant congress the authority to "purchase assets and equity from financial institutions in order to strengthen its financial sector."

Committee membership

As of the 111th United States Congress, Tom Cole is a member of the following U.S. House committees:

Electoral history

Oklahoma's 4th congressional district: Results 2002–2006[3]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2002 Darryl Roberts 91,322 46% Tom Cole 106,452 54%
2004 (no candidate) Tom Cole 198,985 78% Charlene K. Bradshaw Independent 56,869 22%
2006 Hal Spake 64,775 35% Tom Cole 118,266 65%
2008 Blake Cummings 79,674 29% Tom Cole 180,080 66% David E. Joyce Independent 13,027 5%

See also

Congressional Order of Merit


  1. ^ a b c Library of Congress (2007-11-06). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
J. C. Watts
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 4th congressional district

2003 – present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Thomas M. Reynolds
New York
Chairman of National Republican Congressional Committee
Succeeded by
Pete Sessions

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