William McClellan Thornberry, known as Mac Thornberry (born July 15, 1958), is the U.S. Representative from the Texas Panhandle. He has served since 1995, when the House seated its first Republican majority in forty years.
The Republican Thornberry represents Texas's 13th congressional district, a GOP stronghold which stretches between the Oklahoma and New Mexico borders. It winds across the Panhandle into the South Plains, then runs east across the Red River Valley. Covering over 40,000 square miles (100,000 km2), it is the second-largest district geographically in Texas and one of the largest (excluding at-large districts in Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska) in the country. It is even larger in area than thirteen states. The principal cities in the district are Amarillo and Wichita Falls.
Early life, education and career
Thornberry is a lifelong resident of Clarendon, some 60 miles (97 km) east of Amarillo, in the heart of the 13th. His family has operated a ranch in the area since 1881. He received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He then obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He served previously as a staffer to two other Texas Republican congressmen, Tom Loeffler and Larry Combest, and as deputy Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under U.S.
President Ronald W. Reagan before he joined his brothers on the family ranch. He also practiced law in Amarillo.
U.S. House of Representatives
- Committee on Armed Services(Vice Chair)
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities (Chairman)
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee where he leads the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He also serves as a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Thornberry defeated Democratic Congressman Bill Sarpalius in the 1994 general election, a heavily Republican year nationwide.
He polled 79,416 votes (55.41 percent) to Sarpalius' 63,923 votes (44.18 percent). Two years earlier in a much higher turnout election, Sarpalius had polled nearly double the votes that he received in 1994. The 13th has always been a somewhat conservative district, but Thornberry's victory is still regarded as an upset.
Since his initial election, Thornberry has consolidated his hold on the district and routinely wins by large majorities in an area that was historically Democratic as recently as the 1970s. Thornberry is only the third Republican to represent the district since Reconstruction. The previous Republican representatives were Robert D.
"Bob" Price of Pampa (1967–1975) and Beau Boulter of Amarillo (1985–1989).
In the 2006 and 2008 elections, Thornberry handily defeated former intelligence officer and Professor Roger Waun.
February 15th, 2012