A quiet GOP senator from Wyoming who avoided the spotlight has passed away.
Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas, a three-term Republican who stayed clear of the Washington limelight and political catfights, died Monday. He was 74.
The senator’s family issued a statement saying he died Monday evening at National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. He had been receiving chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia.
According to a statement from his office, Thomas’ cancer had been resistant to a second round of chemotherapy and he was suffering from an infection in addition to the leukemia.
Just before the 2006 election, Thomas was hospitalized with pneumonia and had to cancel his last campaign stops. He nonetheless won with 70 percent of the vote, monitoring the election from his hospital bed.
At his Senate website, Sen. Thomas’s May 17 statement on the shamnesty bill is featured:
U.S. Senator Craig Thomas said the immigration compromise recently struck in the Senate allows blanket amnesty and will cost our nation vast amounts of money in entitlement spending.
“Senate deal-makers have failed to make the necessary changes to enact a strong national immigration policy. What we have before us will grant amnesty at most every turn. This policy affords a path to citizenship for nearly every type of illegal immigration possible.”
“This poorly crafted compromise will end up costing taxpayers trillions of dollars in entitlement spending. Our already straining Social Security and Medicare system will take on far more than it can handle — costing taxpayers for many years to come.”
“The Heritage Foundation recently reported that if current adult illegal immigrants in the U.S. were granted amnesty, the net retirement costs to government, — their benefits minus taxes — will be well over $2.5 trillion.”
“I’m against creating a special law that rewards illegal behavior by providing a path to citizenship. And I’m against this so-called compromise.”
“I was clear at the outset of our immigration debate last year that I would oppose a bill that is either weak or allows amnesty. While there are certain limited exceptions which merit special attention, none of them make a case for blanket amnesty,” Thomas said.
Senator Thomas’ Priorities:
• Opposes amnesty in any form;
• Supports strengthening border security and protection;
• Supports mandatory electronic employment verification; and,
• Supports tough employer accountability provisions which increase penalties for those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
Uncommon sense. Decency. Aversion to the limelight. Sen. Thomas will be missed.
Thomas was born in Cody, Wyo., and raised on a ranch. He earned a degree in agriculture from the University of Wyoming and served four years in the Marines. He is survived by his wife and four children.
A Blog P.I. contributor looks at the statute governing vacant seats in Wyoming and recounts meeting Thomas and chatting about a 5k run he was going to enter: “That guy loved to run.”
Robert Bluey: “He was always a gentleman.”