Growing up in the Jim Crow South and witnessing the discriminatory practices against African-Americans in his community, Thomas Mann, Jr. knew at a young age that he wanted to become an attorney and a legislator so that he could work to improve the lives of minorities in this country. Tom was the first person in his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tennessee State University in 1971 and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Iowa in 1974.
After passing the Iowa State Bar exam in June of 1974, he began working as an assistant to the state attorney general where he argued criminal appeals cases before the Iowa Supreme Court and represented the Iowa Civil Rights Commission in ongoing discrimination cases.
In November of 1982, Tom became the first African-American to be elected to the Iowa State Senate where he served two consecutive terms. While a state senator he served as Vice-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chair of the Business & Labor Relations Committee, Chair of the Ethics Committee, and President Pro Tempore of the Senate. After his tenure in the state senate, he continued his work as a civil rights attorney, where he fought for civil liberties in the states of Iowa and Texas until his retirement in 2016. Tom also worked as an administrative law judge at the Texas Workforce Commission.
Newly retired, Tom has taken up writing. He also takes on the occasional pro bono case and enjoys spending time with his family. He lives in Manor, Texas, with his wife and his two daughters.
Senator Thomas Mann, Jr.