By Lynn R. Mitchell
LynnRMitchell.com sends happy birthday wishes today to one of our guest writers and good friend Mike Thomas … husband to Stacey, father to Sarah and Alec, grandfather, and children’s church leader.
Born and raised in Virginia, Mike began his political career with the College Republicans while earning a political science degree at the University of Richmond. It would lead him to the highest reaches of Virginia politics, serving in the administration of former Governor and Senator George Allen, who remains a close friend. He held positions as Chief of Staff and State Director during Allen’s time in the U.S. Senate, and served the Commonwealth of Virginia over the years as both the Secretary of Administration to the Commonwealth, and as Director of the Virginia Department of Information Technology.
Long-time leader in the Republican Party of Virginia as its 1st Vice Chairman, he has provided guidance, experience, and wisdom for Virginia Republicans for more than 30 years. Though Mike has rubbed elbows with the highest candidates on the political scale, it does not show in his quiet demeanor. Never one to brag about those he knows, he is nevertheless an encyclopedia of knowledge about Virginia politics, quickly recalling names of players from throughout the years whether they were candidates or electeds or the grassroots volunteers that he works closely with and respects for their determined loyalty to the people and principles they support.
Mike can be a quiet presence but don’t let that fool you. Beneath that exterior is a determined, hard-working networker who is one of the most-admired men in Virginia Republican circles. He has seen his legacy continue in son Alec who recently earned his Masters Degree in Public Policy and was a key staffer in the 2014 Ed Gillespie for U.S. Senate campaign.
The many years of dedication to RPV resulted in their honoring him in 2009 with the “Michael Thomas Volunteer of the Year” award with a celebration at the Republican Advance in Williamsburg. I noted at the time:
Congratulation to Mike Thomas, 1st Vice Chairman of RPV’s Central Committee, who was honored at the 2009 Republican Advance by having the “Volunteer of the Year” award named after him, something he jokingly said usually happens after someone dies. As it was announced at Saturday’s luncheon, Mike made his way to the stage as the packed room of 650 activists, electeds, and officers enthusiastically rose to their feet and honored him with prolonged applause.
A tireless worker for over 30 years, Mike is one of the most respected members of the Republican Party of Virginia, filling in as interim chairman when called upon and toiling long hours for the Party while working with candidates and volunteers.
Along with all his Republican duties, Mike is also a husband, father, grandfather, and a leader in his church. A graduate of the University of Richmond, he is Senior Vice President of McGuire Woods Consulting.
It is a well-deserved honor and from now on the “Volunteer of the Year” winners will receive the Michael Thomas Award. We all thank Mike for his dedication and service.
Mike’s political detractors can’t help but respect the man as he works to keep the lines of communication open. His political allies admire him … his friends surround him … his family adores him.
It does not get said enough: We thank Mike for his years of service, his dedication to the grassroots, his willingness to stick his neck out for a friend, and that smile. Even after the longest day, Mike’s face lights up with a smile when he sees friends and family and especially his grandkids including grandson Aiden, the subject of his recent post (see The happiest of days).
So here’s wishing you the happiest of birthdays, Mike Thomas! Enjoy your day by eating cake and ice cream with the grandchildren!
“For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” — Proverbs 9:11 (NIV)