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The Hon. Thomas C. Sawyer

1298 North Howard St.

Akron, OH  44310

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS      (Click here for a printable copy)

Held elected office for 26 years. After being elected in 1976 to the Ohio state legislature, went on to serve as Mayor of Akron, Ohio, and for 16 years as a U.S. Congressman.

Gained knowledge of the legislative and political process. Extensive career includes not only experience as an elected official but also work on the professional staff of campaigns for President and Ohio Governor and participation in inter-parliamentary and legislative exchanges with Japan and the European Union.

Provided leadership on Census issues in the United States Congress. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Census and Population, conducted oversight of the 1990 Census and helped prepare for the 2000 Census. Encouraged the Census Bureau to use up-to-date methods to ensure the accuracy of the Census.

Overhauled the use of racial categories in federal reporting. As Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Census and Population, spearheaded a comprehensive review of the measurement of race and ethnicity in the Census and other federal data collection activities. This led to significant revisions to these policies which included new and more flexible standards for reporting on race and ethnicity.

Established innovative education programs. Drawing upon experience as a teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools, provided leadership in education at the state and federal levels. Helped establish innovative federal programs to improve adult literacy, the professional development of teachers, the teaching of math and science, and the use of technology in public schools.

Led effort to foster civility in the Congress. Helped create and lead the House Bipartisan Retreat, an annual event designed to foster civility and to help establish working relationships between the political parties.

Instrumental in shaping energy policy. Leveraged experience as a member of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission staff to develop an expertise in energy policy. Continued to focus on energy issues as an Ohio State Legislator and as a U.S. Congressman. Fought to assure that any federal electricity restructuring plan included provisions protecting the reliability of transmission networks.

Orchestrated economic growth and change. As Mayor of the city of Akron, Ohio, put the city on a sound financial footing and helped resolved major capital investment issues that resulted in the rebirth of the city. Akron was able to escape the economic downturn that hurt most of the rust belt and the city was transformed from a rubber town to a polymer and information age city.


 Member of Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, 1987-2002

 •      Member of House Committee on Energy and Commerce, 1997-2002. This committee has oversight over a broad range of issues and government functions including energy, telecommunications, consumer protection, the environment, health care, and trade.

•      Member of House Committee on Education and Labor, 1987-1996. Now known as the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, this committee has oversight of federal education, job training, and worker benefit and protection programs.

•      Member of House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. Chairman of Subcommittee on Census    and Population, 1989-1994. The Subcommittee had oversight of the U.S. Census and the use and collection of data throughout the federal government.

  •  Only member of Congress elected in 1986 to receive a chairmanship in the l0lst Congress.

  •  Committee was eliminated as part of restructuring following the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives.

•      Member of House Committee on International Relations, 1993-1996. This conunittee has oversight of U.S. foreign policy and the programs and institutions which support U.S. activities abroad.

•      Member of House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, 1993-1996. Also known as the Ethics Committee, this committee hears matters pertaining to the conduct of Members of Congress and their staff.

  • During this period, the committee considered charges against the Speaker of the House.

•       Member of House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, 1996. This committee has oversight of federal transportation programs and other programs including the Cont Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers.

•      Participant in the U.S.- European Parliamentary Exchange and the U.S.-Japan Legislative Exchange


Census and Population

•      Chairman of Subcommittee on Census and Population.

•      Oversaw implementation of the 1990 Census and initial planning for the 2000 count.

•      Following the 1990 Census, conducted oversight hearings that resulted in key improvements in census methods and the collection of data about our nation’s communities and population.

•      Spearheaded discussions about the need to collect more current, relevant information to support policymaking and planning. These discussions led to the development of the Census long form known as the American Community Survey.

•      In planning for the 2000 Census, urged the Census Bureau to employ more modern counting techniques to address the persistent undercount of the poor, children, and minorities.

•      Spearheaded a comprehensive review of the measurement of race and ethnicity in the Census and other federal data collection activities. The subcommittee held a series of hearings that led the Office of Management and Budget (0MB) to reassess the categories used to collect data on race and ethnicity.

  • The result was a revision of statistical policy on the collection of this data. The revised policy or standard was established in October 1997. The policy changes were the first significant revisions since racial and ethnic policies were first established in 1977.

  • The new standards offer more flexibility for reporting race and ethnicity in the Census and other data collection activities - including administrative reporting. As an example, people can now report more than one race.

  • Attracted national attention and significant policy discussion because of the enormous demographic changes in the United States, especially the increasing diversity of the population and the consequences of that change.

  • The information on race and ethnicity affects policies from affirmative action to racial profiling to racial disparities in health outcomes to discrimination.

•     Leveraged knowledge of the Census in considering other important social and economic issues. Advised colleagues on how population trends are affecting Social Security, teacher shortages, and other critical public policy issues.


Education Issues

    •      Authored and built a bipartisan coalition to enact the National Literacy Act of 1991(P.L.102-73).           The goal of this legislation was to reduce the incidence of adult illiteracy. This legislation:

  • Expanded and improved coordination between government literacy programs;

  • Funded literacy grants to business, labor, and education partnerships for workforce literacy programs;

  • Required states to develop and implement standards of program quality in order to determine which programs were successfully recruiting, training, and improving the literacy skills of individuals served; and

  • Established a National Institute for Literacy and affiliated state literacy centers.

•      Authored and enacted the Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Improvement Act (P.L. 102-325). This legislation was aimed at improving elementary and secondary education in math and science. This legislation created:

  • A system of regional science, math, and technology education consortiums;

  • A National Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Materials, which is now located at Ohio State University; and

  • Annual merit-based grants from the U.S. Department of Education to improve teacher training, course materials, teaching methods, and assessment tools for science, math, and technology education.

•      Authored several sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Building on previous legislative accomplishments, these sections included provisions:

  • To promote the use of technology in education;

  • To help develop technological literacy for students;

  • To strengthen training and professional development for teachers;

  • To ensure that education programs for disadvantaged students reach targeted districts by using updated poverty numbers to allocate those funds.

•      Member of the House-Senate conference committee on legislation to revamp our nation’s workforce development and training programs, 104th Congress.

  • Due to the vast differences between the House and Senate version of this legislation, the differences were unable to be reconciled.

  • However, this legislation, known as the CAREERS Act, was the basis for legislation that was signed into law in the 105th Congress (P.L. 105-220)

•      Leader in integrating the National Student/Parent Mock Election Program into the Election Reform legislation (P.L. 107-252)

  • The National Student/Parent Mock Election Program is the largest voter education program in the country and helps educate young people and their parents about civic responsibility.



•      Spokesman on energy issues in face of federal and state restructuring of the nation’s electricity systems.

•      Introduced legislation (H.R. 2786, 106 Congress) to assure that the expansion, improvement, and reliability of transmission networks are part of any federal electricity restructuring legislation.

•      Carefully monitored developments at the state level and the role of the federal government in energy restructuring.



•      Oversaw implementation of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which overhauled U.S. telecommunications policy.

•      Leader in advocating for a national uniform wireless emergency 911 number for mobile phone users to access in emergency situations.

•      Supporter of increasing access to the internet and the use of advanced telecommunicationstechnologies. Supported legislation to provide financial support to connect schools and libraries to the internet and to allow legal documents to be signed with an electronic signature.



•      Leader in oversight and reauthorization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA)

•      Instrumental in ensuring that laws governing tire recalls are based on a clear understanding of the nature of automotive performance and the stress it places on tires.

•      Key player in working toward international harmonization of tire production standards.


Health Care Issues

•      Author of the Administrative Simplification Act which was signed into law as part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 19% (P.L. 104-191).

  • This legislation provides for electronic transmission of administrative health data and simplified billing procedures for doctors and patients, saving both time and money.


Mayor, City of Akron, 1984-1986

•      First Democrat to win mayoral election in 20 years.

•      Set a new course for the city’s growth that resulted in its rebirth.

•      Supported research and development in the global rubber and tire industries.

•      Elevated the role of polymers and other synthetic materials in the economic future of Northeast Ohio.

•      Balanced the city’s budget without raising taxes. Resolved major capital investment issues by restructuring the city’s $43 million in debt.

•      Received financial management awards for his efforts. Restructured and modernized the city’s fiscal reporting systems.

•      Improved the delivery of municipal services.

•      Strengthened police, fire, and paramedic forces.


Member of Ohio State Legislature, 1977-1983

•      Distinguished achievement on a wide-range of issues, with a focus on education and energy policies.

•      Chairman of the Ohio House Education Committee.

•      Represented the Ohio House on the Ohio State Board of Regents, the governing authority of Ohio’s state-run institutions of higher education.

•      Vice Chair of the Public Utilities Committee.

•      Vice Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee.

•      Member of the Ohio House Finance Committee.

•      Named one of the 10 best Ohio legislators by the Columbus Monthly magazine.

 Candidate for Ohio State Legislature   1976                                                                                     

 Legislative Analyst, Ohio Public Utilities Commission     1975-1976

 Professional Field Organizer and Fundraiser, Gilligan for Governor Campaign    1973-1974

 Personnel Administrator, Cuyahoga School for Boys      1973                                                           

 Professional Staff, McGovern for President Campaign     1972

 Click Here for a printable copy of Tom's resume

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