Friday, September 01, 2006

Thomas resigns 44th District seat, joins attorney general's office

State Rep. Andy Thomas (R-Brazil) has a new job. He now works for Indiana Attorney Gen. Steve Carter.
He resigned his seat in the General Assembly Thursday to become a deputy attorney general serving in the Administrative and Regulatory Litigation Division of the Indiana Attorney General’s office. The announcement was made Thursday afternoon.
The Associated Press reported Friday Thomas will be paid $52,000 in the new position.
Thomas and Indiana Attorney Gen. Steve Carter were interviewed at The Brazil Times office.
Thomas will focus on issues concerning the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), though he may be asked to work on other issues as well, Carter said.
Carter anticipates litigation with FSSA providers as Gov. Mitch Daniels works to change Indiana’s system.
“The state’s largest agency has a lot of litigation,” Carter said. “It is really helpful to have legal counsel with a background, not only in respect to laws, but to have someone who has talked to people in his community.”
Carter appreciates the perspective Thomas can offer to state policymakers.
There are 120 attorneys in the state attorney general’s office, Carter said. About half of those lawyers deal with litigation and about 10 will be working with Thomas from time-to-time on FSSA matters, Carter said.
The state attorney general is confident Thomas can do the job, pointing to his 19 years in private practice.
Shortly after Thomas announced his decision to not seek re-election, Gov. Mitch Daniels told The Brazil Times he had looked forward to Thomas’s continued partnership in the Indiana General Assembly and he hoped Thomas would find a place of public service in the future. But the governor did not contact either Thomas or Carter.
Instead, Thomas’s new boss read about his decision to not seek re-election and wanted to talk to him. Carter tries to identify “talented people” outside of Marion County to improve the mix of attorneys in his office.
“I think (Thomas) will be pretty impressed with the group we have,” Carter said. “We’re excited about it.”
Thomas is “very excited” about being recruited by the state attorney general.
“I respect the job (Carter’s) doing in several areas,” Thomas said. “I want to help out as I can.”
Thomas, too, is confident he has the experience needed to do assist Carter.
In addition to being a lifelong resident of Clay County, Thomas worked in the Indiana Attorney General’s office, in consumer protection, while in Valparaiso University School of Law “and loved it.” Since 2002 he has served District 44 as state representative. Earlier this year, he decided to not seek re-election, citing his desire to spend more time with his family.