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Ex-tennis professional Jim Thomas to affix Ohio Home GOP in 2023

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Earlier than any elections, Jim Thomas’ first brushes with politics got here from tennis.

There was the time he performed in opposition to John Breaux, who would later turn into a US Senator from Louisiana. Or when Eliot Spitzer, who would later turn into the governor of New York, watched him compete at a tennis match within the Bronx. Or the time former President George HW Bush had Thomas and Andre Agassi over for lunch after a 2003 match in Houston.

“It was fairly cool that Andre was there,” Thomas mentioned in an interview. “Fairly cool the president was there too.”

Again then, Thomas was the third ranked doubles participant within the US and twenty ninth on this planet, competing in classics like Wimbledon and the US, French, and Australian opens. Now, he is a lawyer and shortly to start serving as a Republican member of the Ohio Home of Representatives. Some comparatively gentle fundraising and about $137,000 of non-public funds carried him to a 7-point win over the incumbent Rep. Thomas West for the Canton-area seat for the redrawn district.

After finishing an undergraduate program at Stanford College on a full scholarship and subsequent tennis profession, the Plain Township native returned to Ohio to enroll in regulation college at Case Western Reserve College.

Thomas mentioned he went to regulation college with public service in thoughts. He gained election as a trustee of Jackson Township in 2019 however wished greater issues to unravel – he disputed characterizing the job as a “steppingstone.” As a state lawmaker, he mentioned he has tons to be taught however he did not have any set insurance policies in thoughts he desires to champion.

“I haven’t got something particular that I wish to attempt to get handed,” he mentioned. “However usually, I feel financial improvement is essential.”

Jim Thomas, at left, seen with President George HW Bush and First Woman Barbara Bush in 2003. Courtesy of Jim Thomas.

In a 45-minute interview, Thomas usually positioned himself according to the Ohio Republican Social gathering, albeit gentle on the small print of some items of high-profile laws. As an example, he mentioned he would have supported Ohio’s new permitless carry regulation – which permits those that can lawfully possess a weapon to hold it hid on their individuals with out coaching or a background test – although he mentioned he did not know the small print of the laws.

“To be trustworthy I haven’t got a number of data about it, however for the second, I’d simply reply sure,” he mentioned.

(After the interview, he provided a follow-up assertion by e-mail: “I might have supported that laws as a result of I at all times have and at all times will defend the second modification and the rights of regulation abiding Ohioans to guard themselves.”)

He mentioned he helps Ohio’s 2019 abortion regulation (which is on maintain pending a authorized problem) which bans the process after about six weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest and slim exceptions for medical emergencies. Not too long ago, the regulation blocked a 10-year-old rape sufferer from receiving an abortion in Ohio. Thomas mentioned he’d must analysis whether or not the regulation was correctly interpreted by the hospital that cited it in denying the lady an abortion.

“I am completely happy to look into that, it isn’t one thing I find out about,” he mentioned. “The one different remark I might make is a improper occurred there. If there’s an abortion that occurs, on the whole, in my view that may be a second improper. So that you would not wish to compound that with a second improper.”

He mentioned he helps earnings tax cuts, in addition to pending laws that may stop transgender athletes from competing in opposition to these of their newly assumed gender.

When requested for a political determine he admires, Thomas at first solely named John McEnroe – a tennis legend recognized for his deft ability as a lot as his brief mood.

“I feel I like George W. Bush, perhaps as a result of I met his dad and mom, perhaps as a result of 9/11 occurred and he was thrust into that state of affairs,” Thomas mentioned.

“My understanding is he and Mrs. [former First Lady Michelle] Obama have developed a relationship, so I feel that is cool. The very last thing I will throw out there’s [former U.S. Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice, who was a provost at Stanford once I was there. So I clearly do n’t know her about her personally. I feel I do know her, however I do not. So I will go together with him and hers.”

Jake Zuckerman covers state politics and coverage. Learn extra of his work right here.

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