Rep. Thomas changes focus for his future

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

BRAZIL -- State Rep. Andy Thomas (R-District 44) said Tuesday he feels his legislative career has come full circle following announcement of his withdrawal from the fall General Election, but he remained mum about the possibility of running for office in the future.

The Brazil native announced Monday he would withdraw his candidacy for re-election. During his two terms in the Indiana House, the state leased the Indiana Toll Road, made the move to daylight-saving time time and overcame a $1 billion deficit to achieve a budget surplus.

Thomas reflected on the legislature's accomplishments during his tenure during a telephone interview Monday.

"I feel like I've done a good job representing the district over the last four years," he said. "I'm proud we have achieved a balanced budget and that the state again has a surplus.

"I also feel strongly that it was important to reimburse the school corporations for the money that was owed by the state."

According to a House staffer, Clay County Schools will soon receive $747,262.77 from the state, which was initially borrowed during a period of deficit spending.

"A lot of the funds (that will be used to repay the loans) came from extra tax amnesty money," Thomas said.

Thomas said he is considering a career in education, something he has flirted with for 15 years as a part-time instructor at Ivy Tech Community College and ISU. He also plans to spend more time with his family, he said.

Asked if he would consider running for office in the future, Thomas declined to comment.

Republican officials in District 44 have yet to replace Thomas on the November ballot. Parke County Democrat Richard Thompson announced his candidacy for the seat last month.

In the meantime, Thomas vowed to remain an active public servant until the end of his current term.

"I will remain a representative," he said. "I will be working hard on several projects in Clay County involving the Clay County Jail, and several other projects that have not been announced yet."

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