By FRANK PHILLIPS / email@example.com
Amos Thomas is running for state representative.
Running shouldn’t be too strenous for a 76-year-old man who is used to bicycling all over west central Indiana.
Thomas decided to run for the seat currently occupied by his son, Andy Thomas (R-44) within minutes after Andy signed the withdrawal form in the Indiana Secretary of State’s office in Indianapolis.
Amos first thought about running for public office 40 years ago. The next morning he was going to tell his brother, John.
“When I got to the office, John said, ‘Guess what — I’m going to run for the state legislature.’”
John served the 44th District for 24 years as state representative.
Amos is happy, even though he didn’t run 40 years ago. He is married and the couple have six children and 12 grandchildren.
“Everyone says their wife is the best, but I really do have the best wife,” he said. “I believe we have served the public by raising a good family and by teaching them good principles.”
Years ago, Amos and John were joined in their law practice by Amos’s sons, David and Andy, and by Ed Pease. All three joined John Thomas in going on to elected public service. David became the Clay County prosecuting attorney, Andy was elected to the General Assembly and Ed Pease was elected to Congress.
Now, Amos hopes, it’s his turn.
He was at Andy’s side in Indianapolis Monday morning when Andy signed the withdrawal form, ending his re-election candidacy. It was an emotional experience.
On the way home, father and son talked about the pros and cons of Amos running for the seat when the 44th Distric Republican caucus meets in the next few weeks.
“I am not impetuous,” Amos said. “I analyze the pros and cons and then decide based upon all the information I can get. That is the way I will vote on all issues that come up.”
So, having thought about running for office for so many decades, he is ready.
“I am totally committed to this campaign,” he said. “If I am picked by the caucus, I will be in the race to win without reservation.”
Amos keeps himself physically fit by riding a Schwinn Voyager touring bicycle. He has ridden through most of Putnam County as well as Clay, Parke and Vigo counties.
His bicycling began when a high school injury caused pain in his knee. An orthopedic surgeon suggested bicycling would help. It has. No longer does his knee bother him.
“And, I lost 30 pounds,” he said.
Amos is accustomed to hard work. He grew up on a small farm west of Bellmore in Parke County.
His father was a school teacher and a gentleman farmer, so Amos grew up working for his dad and nearby farmers.
He also worked in hay rings and thrashing rings, so called because farmers would work together cutting hay and thrashing. The ring was the ring of farms they owned or rented.
Amos worked with horses and spent eight years in 4-H, spending some time helping show cattle at the Indiana State Fair.
He also served in the U.S. Air Force in Alaska during the Korean War.
Following his service in the Air Force, he went back to Indiana University Law School and obtained his law degree in 1956. He began practicing law in Brazil and has continued for 50 years.
Although he has called Brazil home for half a century, he says his ties are stronger in Putnam and Parke counties, part of the 44th District.
One of his ancestors, one of the early settlers of Putnam County, was the Mr. Knight for whom Knightsville was named.
He has a brother, nephew and many cousins who live in Putnam County. He has practiced law in the Putnam County Courthouse at Greencastle and has many clients from Putnam County. His wife, Mary, was a guidance counselor and teacher at Cloverdale High School for many years.
While many Republican voters live in Putnam County, Amos believes he is electable in the Nov. 7 general election because his brother served 24 years and his son has served four years; Putnam County Republicans and Democrats elected and re-elected them, so he believes he could win the 44th District race, too.
At some point in the next few weeks, Indiana Republican Chairperson Murray Clark will call a caucus for the purpose of finding a Republican to run against Richard Thompson, the Democratic Party nominee for the 44th District House seat.
“I don’t know who will be running,” Amos said Wednesday afternoon in his office. “Whoever they pick, I am a Republican and will support them in the fall.”
He hopes that person will be himself, of course.
“I am a people person in that I greatly enjoy visiting with people. I can find something in common with anyone I meet and I think that is a good quality for a politican.”
He a very active member of the Brazil Rotary Club and First United Methodist Church. He has worked in Boy Scouts (including a sting as district chairman of the joint Putnam-Clay County district), been chairman of the Clay County Red Cross Committee, was named Outstanding Young Man by the Brazil Jaycees, was a member of the board of asbury Towers Retirement Community for a term, served on the YMCA board for nine years, coached Little League baseball, YMCA football, YMCA basketball, church league basketball, was a charter member of the Clay Youth Baseball League and prepared Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws and was a charter member of the Brazil Interclub Council and prepared its by-laws.