Thomas, Lera Millard (1900–1993)

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Thomas, Lera Millard (1900–1993)

American legislator who served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 89th Congress (1966–67). Name variations: Mrs. Albert Thomas. Born on August 3, 1900, in Nacogdoches, Texas; died on July 23, 1993, in Nacogdoches; attended Brenau College; attended University of Alabama; married Albert Thomas (a U.S. congressional representative), in 1922 (died 1966); children: Ann; Lera; and James.

Born in 1900 and raised in the small town of Nacogdoches in east Texas, congressional representative Lera Millard Thomas attended Brenau College in Georgia and the University of Alabama. She left college in 1922 to marry Albert Thomas, another Nacogdoches native and a law student at the University of Texas; the couple had three children. In 1930, they moved to Houston when Albert became assistant U.S. attorney. In 1936, he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he served as a Democrat until 1966. When Albert Thomas died in 1966, a special election was held to fill his seat; his widow, who had been active for years in Democratic causes and the League of Women Voters, easily won the election against a Republican candidate. She served in the House from March 26, 1966 to January 3, 1967. While in Congress, Lera Millard Thomas continued the efforts of her husband, particularly in support of NASA programs as well as Houston area economic initiatives. She also went to Vietnam in December 1966 to interview American soldiers as a correspondent for the Houston Chronicle and the armed services media. Thomas declined to run for re-election in 1967, and retired to Nacogdoches. There she was involved in historic preservation efforts, in particular the reconstruction of a 19th-century Texas village in Nacogdoches County. She died in 1993 at age 92.


Office of the Historian, U.S. House of Representatives. Women in Congress, 1917–1990. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991.

Transcript, Mrs. Albert (Lera) Thomas Oral History Interview, 10/11/69, by David G. McComb, Lyndon B. Johnson Library.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California

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