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Lera Millard Thomas (August 3, 1900 – July 23, 1993) was the wife of Congressman Albert Thomas and briefly succeeded her husband as the Representative in Congress representing the Eighth District of Texas from 1966 to 1967. She was the first woman to represent Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives.[1] She also founded Millard's Crossing Historic Village.

Lera Millard Thomas
Lera Millard Thomas.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 8th district
In office
March 26, 1966 – January 3, 1967
Preceded byAlbert Thomas
Succeeded byBob Eckhardt
Personal details
Born(1900-08-03)August 3, 1900
Nacogdoches, Texas
DiedJuly 23, 1993(1993-07-23) (aged 92)
Nacogdoches, Texas
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Albert Thomas
ChildrenAnne Thomas Lasater, Lera Thomas

Early lifeEdit

Born Lera Millard August 3, 1900, in Nacogdoches, Texas, she attended Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, and the University of Alabama. She married Albert Thomas in 1922. Albert Thomas was elected to Congress in 1936, and they lived in Washington, DC after that. Mrs. Thomas was a member of the Houston League of Women Voters. The Thomases had two daughters, Ann Thomas Lasater and Lera Thomas.[2]

Elected to CongressEdit

On February 15, 1966, her husband died and a special election was called for March 26, 1966 to elect another Representative. Lera Millard Thomas was the first woman elected to Congress from the State of Texas, when she was elected as a Democrat in the special election to succeed her deceased husband.[3] She received over 74% of the vote against Republican Louis Leman who urged voters to vote for the Widow Thomas.[4] She served on the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee where she supported funds to expand the Houston Ship Channel.[5] Because he died after filing for office in 1966, Albert Thomas's name remained on the Democratic Primary ballot for the 8th District and his widow determined that she would not seek a full term for 1967. State Representative Bob Eckhardt won the primary for a full term. After serving the remainder of her husband's term, Thomas left Congress on January 3, 1967. After her term in Congress, Mrs. Thomas served as special liaison for the Houston Chronicle to members of the armed services in Vietnam.

Later yearsEdit

When she returned from Vietnam, Thomas founded Millard's Crossing Historic Village in Nacogdoches. She resided in Nacogdoches until her death there on July 23, 1993. She was interred in Oak Grove Cemetery.[6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Livingston, Abby (15 June 2018). "Texas sent its first woman to Congress in 1966. Why has she been largely forgotten?". Texas Tribune. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  2. ^ Transcript, Mrs. Albert (Lera) Thomas Oral History Interview I, 10/11/69, by David G. McComb, Internet Copy, LBJ Library. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2007-07-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Women in Congress, 1917–1990, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1991.
  4. ^ Michael J. Dubin et al., United States Congressional Elections, 1788–1997(McFarland & Company, Publishing, Inc., 1998) p. 647
  5. ^ Women in Congress:1917–2006, House of Representatives, Committee on House Administration, Office of the Clerk, 2007, p.319
  6. ^ United States Congress. "Lera Millard Thomas (id: T000178)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Albert Thomas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Bob Eckhardt