|Rep. W. Curtis Thomas
181st Legislative District
|State Representative W. Curtis Thomas Biography|
Improving conditions in his community is something to which W. Curtis Thomas has always been committed. Born one of eight children in North Philadelphia to Hattie and Curtis Thomas, he knows first-hand what it means to come from humble beginnings. As a result, he vowed to become one of those who works to make things better for others in his community.
First sworn into office in 1989, he has served honorably since then as state representative of the 181st Legislative District. The 181st District includes parts of North and North Central Philadelphia, Northern Liberties, Hunting Park, Logan, Feltonville, Kensington and Nicetown-Tioga.
Upon graduation from Thomas Edison High School, he obtaining a bachelor's of science degree in secondary education from Temple University and enrolled in the graduate program, majoring in education administration.
Thomas soon became lead teacher in the Get Set Program housed at Ruffin-Nichols A.M.E. Church in North Philadelphia, where he prepared pre-school children for entry into school. However, the terror caused by gang violence in the community during the 1970s moved Thomas to co-found the Philadelphia Committee for Services to Youth. Collaborating with the late Edwina Baker and other community activists, Thomas worked to end gang violence in North Philadelphia.
His work with the committee spurred Thomas to continue his education by attending the David A. Clarke School of Law (formerly Antioch School of Law) in Washington, D.C., where he received a his law degree. As a second- and third-year student, he taught civil practice, constitutional and property law and served as chairman of the Black American Law Students Association (BALSA). During that time, he also worked as a law clerk in the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Office of General Counsel, Civil Rights Division. His experience and research at HEW inspired him to author “The Breadth & Scope of Title VI, 1964 Civil Rights Act,” which was published in the North Carolina Law Review.
Thomas soon returned to Pennsylvania to serve as a law clerk for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg. Always mindful of his responsibility to improve his community, he also served as chief executive officer of East Poplar NAC, founded the East Poplar Community Economic Development Corporation and served as chairman of the North Philadelphia Branch of the Consumers Education Protection Association.
Upon the death of state Rep. Alphonso Deal in 1987, Thomas was urged by residents of the 181st District to run for state representative. With their help, he did so successfully in 1988 and took office in January 1989. Since then, Thomas has had overwhelming success with legislation and the leadership positions he has held.
In his first term, Thomas founded the Legislative Housing Caucus to address affordable housing issues facing Pennsylvanians. He has since assisted in securing millions for new housing development and housing rehabilitation in the 181st Legislative District.
As one who has worked tirelessly to close the digital divide, Thomas introduced legislation that created and chaired the Information Technology Subcommittee under the House Intergovernmental Affairs Committee (1995). Through his leadership, the subcommittee developed a “Digital Excellence Blueprint” for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Active in his community, Thomas is past vice president of the Philadelphia NAACP and a member of several Masonic organizations including the United Supreme Council, Northern Jurisdiction, 32nd Degree and 33rd Degree and Scottish Rite Mason, DeMolay Consistory #1, Prince Hall Affiliation. He also is a member of St. Phillips Baptist Church. Thomas is the proud parent of two sons and guardian of two nieces.
Through the years, Thomas has held many leadership positions that have increased his influence in the Commonwealth. His appointments include:
Putting people first has been the hallmark of Thomas' stewardship. He can be proud of his accomplishments in the district since he first took office. Those accomplishments include securing funding, support and/or technical assistance for community-based organizations, businesses and schools in the district.
Rep. Thomas secured funding for the following:
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SELECTED LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS