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Thomas Coleman Foley (born January 9, 1952) is an American politician and businessman. He served as the United States Ambassador to Ireland from 2006 to 2009 and was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut in 2010 and 2014.

Tom Foley
Thomas C Foley.jpg
United States Ambassador to Ireland
In office
October 18, 2006 – January 20, 2009
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byJames Kenny
Succeeded byDan Rooney
Personal details
Born (1952-01-09) January 9, 1952 (age 67)
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationHarvard University (BA, MBA)

Early life and educationEdit

Foley is one of six children of Catherine Coleman Foley and Gifford Pinchot Foley (both deceased).[1] He went to both Phillips Academy Andover and Kent School and then received a B.A. in Economics from Harvard and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He is no relation to former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley. At Andover, he played on the football team with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.[2]


Private sectorEdit

Foley first worked at McKinsey & Company and then at Citicorp Venture Capital. He left CVC to found NTC Group, a private investment company, in 1985.[3] That year, NTC Group (also known as National Textile Corp) purchased the Bibb Company in Macon, Georgia. NTC purchased T.B. Woods Sons Company in 1986 and Stevens Aviation in 1989. NTC sold its interest in Bibb in 1996. In April 2007, T.B. Woods was sold to ALTRA Holdings.[4] Woods, a manufacturing company headquartered in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, had operations in North America, Germany, Italy, and India, 2005 revenue of about $110.9 million and about 830 employees.[5]

As of 2010, NTC's principal remaining portfolio investment is Stevens Aviation, a provider to general aviation operators of fueling and other line services, maintenance, modification, and refurbishment work, as well as aircraft sales. Stevens is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina.[4] The company has locations in Dayton, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee, and Denver, Colorado, in addition to its two locations in Greenville.

Public sectorEdit

Foley has served in national government twice. From August 2003 through March 2004, Foley served in Iraq as the director of private sector development for the Coalition Provisional Authority. Foley's responsibilities included overseeing most of Iraq's 192 state-owned enterprises, stimulating private sector growth, developing foreign trade and investment,[6] and overseeing three state Ministries. Foley received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award in June 2004 for his service in Iraq.[7]

From October 2006 to January 2009, Foley was the U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, appointed by President George W. Bush. Foley served as ambassador at a time when U.S. foreign policy was unpopular in Ireland. He directed his public diplomacy efforts mostly toward an improved understanding of U.S. foreign policy goals and shared interests with Ireland.[citation needed]

Foley worked with Robert Tuttle, U.S. Ambassador to the U.K., and special envoy Paula Dobriansky to re-establish the devolved government in Northern Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement and to stimulate investment there. He was present in Belfast on May 8, 2007, when the new government of Northern Ireland was sworn in.[8]

As ambassador, Foley hosted a conference on green technology in Galway and another in Dublin on philanthropy, bringing together experts from the U.S. and their Irish counterparts. He was active in promoting cultural exchange by arranging visits from prominent Irish American artists and performers including Conan O'Brien and former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

In its endorsement of Foley for the 2010 Connecticut governor's race, the Irish Voice said, "Foley is a former Ambassador to Ireland who performed great service there and is fondly remembered."[9]

2010 gubernatorial campaignEdit

In June, 2009, Foley announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 against incumbent Christopher Dodd.[10] However, following the surprise announcement by Republican governor Jodi Rell that she would not seek a second term, Foley announced on December 3, 2009, that he was leaving the Senate race to run for Governor of Connecticut.[11]

On May 22, 2010, Foley received the Republican Party's endorsement at the state convention.[12] Two other candidates, Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele and Simsbury businessman Nelson "Oz" Griebel, also received sufficient support from delegates to qualify for an August 10, 2010, primary.

In the August 10 state Republican primary, Foley defeated challengers Fedele and Griebel to become the official Republican candidate for governor in 2010.

In the general election, Foley ran against Democrat Dannel Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford. Foley ran on a platform emphasizing his executive and problem-solving experience in the private sector and that he was not a career politician. Early in the campaign he published a "Plan Forward for Connecticut" outlining what he would do to solve Connecticut's biggest problems, including bringing more jobs to the state and closing Connecticut's large budget deficit. Foley also promoted an aggressive plan to improve Connecticut's underperforming inner-city schools.

The New London Day said in their endorsement of Foley, that "he is best suited for the job at hand. The challenges confronting the next governor do not appear to intimidate him. He is pragmatic about what needs to be fixed."[13]

The New Haven Register also endorsed Foley, described him as "the more forthright of the two candidates", and stated that "Foley's record as a business executive is commendable. His business skills in increasing productivity while keeping an eye on cost are needed in the governor's office."[14]

In the general election for governor, Foley received 560,874 votes (48.95%), just short of Democrat Dan Malloy's 567,278 (49.50%) tally,[15] a difference of fewer than 6,500 votes. After nearly a week of uncertainty about the actual vote tally from Bridgeport and several other towns, he conceded defeat on Monday, November 8.[16] Ultimately, Foley spent $11 million of his own money on the race.[17]

2014 gubernatorial campaignEdit

Foley won the Republican nomination for governor on May 17, 2014, securing more than 57% of the delegates. He faced Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield in the August primary.[18] Foley said that he and McKinney, his main rival, agreed to forgo any negative campaigning during the primary to avoid weakening the Republicans' general election candidate, and then later accused McKinney of violating that pledge when the campaign took a negative turn.[19] On June 3, 2014, Foley announced that he would accept public financing.[20]

On August 12, 2014, Foley won the primary against McKinney by almost 10,000 votes, winning in every county.[21]

In the general election, Foley promised to solve Connecticut's fiscal crisis without raising taxes. He said he would reduce unnecessary costs and regulatory burdens on employers to stimulate job growth and would reduce the car tax in the state's largest cities. Foley's pledge not to raise taxes forced Governor Malloy to do make the same pledge, but within nine months of the election Governor Malloy signed a bill significantly raising Connecticut taxes both on individuals and businesses.[22]

Foley was criticized by his opponent for paying no federal income tax for 2011 and 2012[23] and only $673 for 2013.[24] He explained that he typically has no taxable personal income unless one of the companies he owns is sold at a profit, which had not happened in those years.[24] In the 2010 campaign, Foley released tax returns showing he paid federal and state taxes in 2008 and 2009 exceeding $800,000.

In July 2014, Foley gave a press conference criticizing Malloy outside Fusion Paperboard, a paper mill that had just been closed by its owners. Foley defended the owners' decision to close the plant and told the local first selectman and several union leaders, "You want to blame people who are hundreds or thousands of miles away, malign management. Listen, you have failed, because you have lost these jobs." He said that Malloy was to blame because of "anti-business policies... things like mandatory sick leave, raising energy costs, uhhh, just the negative signals he sends out."[25]

Foley's Democratic opponents in the general election initially tried to draw attention to Foley's two arrests related to motor vehicle incidents. The first was in 1981, in Southampton, New York, and the second in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1993.[26] No charges were filed after the arrests and the matters related to both incidents were dismissed. The state Democratic Party Communications Director who was leading the effort to attract attention to the incidents was let go in early 2014 and Foley's opponents’ primary messaging switched to Foley's wealth and that he was out of touch with workers.[citation needed]

The campaign rhetoric between the two candidates was acrimonious. Foley lost the general election to incumbent Dannel Malloy, 507,544 (48.1%) to 537,017 (50.9%).[27]

After 2014Edit

Foley endorsed Chris Christie in the 2016 Republican primaries.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1994, at the age of 42, Foley was suddenly afflicted with Bell's palsy. The condition partly paralyzed the right side of his face. Foley can only smile with the left side of his mouth; his right eye is partially closed.[29]

In 2009, Foley married Leslie Fahrenkopf, who was 41 and vice president for global ethics and compliance and an associate general counsel at News Corporation in New York City at the time of their wedding. From 2003 to 2008, Fahrenkopf had been an associate counsel to President George W. Bush in the Office of White House Counsel. Foley has a son Tom, Jr. (born October 25, 1990) and he and Leslie have boy and girl twins, Grace Quinlan and William Reed (born September 26, 2011).


  1. ^ "Leslie Fahrenkopf, Thomas Foley" wedding announcement, The New York Times, April 24, 2009 (April 26, 2009 p. ST10 NY ed.)
  2. ^
  3. ^ "NTC Group". Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  4. ^ a b NTC Group web page Archived 2010-10-11 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-07-03.
  5. ^ "–". Archived from the original on October 11, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Tom Foley's remarks encouraging trade and investment in Iraq" Archived 2010-07-07 at the Wayback Machine,, undated transcript of remarks. Retrieved July 3, 2010. Foley refers in the opening to being accompanied by "[interim Prime] Minister Allawi."
  7. ^
  8. ^ O'Dowd, Niall (September 2, 2009). "The last time I met Senator Kennedy". IrishCentral. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Drew, April. "From Irish Ambassador to CT Gov?" Irish Voice 27 October 2010: 8.
  10. ^ "The Hartford Courant". Archived from the original on June 11, 2009. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  11. ^ "The Stamford Advocate coverage of the 2010 Connecticut gubernatorial race". Retrieved July 19, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "GOP: Fedele and Griebel to challenge Foley for nomination | The Connecticut Mirror". May 22, 2010. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  13. ^ "Foley best choice to attack fiscal problems" The New London Day, October 17, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  14. ^ "EDITORIAL: Tom Foley for governor" Archived 2012-09-13 at the Wayback Machine The New Haven Register, October 10, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  15. ^ "Statement of Vote: Election Results for Governor and Lieutenant Governor Summarized by Town". State of Connecticut, Secretary of the State. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved December 18, 2010.
  16. ^ Chen, David W., "Republican Concedes in Race for Connecticut Governor", The New York Times, November 8, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  17. ^ "Wealthy candidates line up for public funds". Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  18. ^ "Foley gets GOP nod, but Boughton and McKinney to primary". Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  19. ^ Associated Press (July 27, 2014). "Gloves off for Conn. gubernatorial rivals". www.bostonglobe.ecom. The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 28, 2014.
  20. ^ Pazniokas, Mark (June 3, 2014). "GOP's Tom Foley commits to public financing". The CT Mirror. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  21. ^ Cowan, Alison (August 12, 2014). "Foley Wins G.O.P. Primary for Governor in Connecticut". New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  22. ^ Keating, Christopher. "State Budget Finalized; $178M In Proposed Tax Increases Rescinded". Hartford Courant. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  23. ^ Associated Press (September 26, 2014). "Questions Surround Tom Foley's Tax Returns". NBC Connecticut. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Udoma, Ebong (October 20, 2014). "Dems want Foley to release state tax details". WSHU Public Radio Group. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  25. ^ "A Tom Foley press conference goes awry in Sprague". The CT Mirror. July 29, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  26. ^ Dixon, Ken (June 25, 2010). "Foley's arrest record draws criticism". Stamford Advocate. Retrieved September 2, 2015.
  27. ^ "Live Coverage of the Midterm Election". 2014. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  28. ^ Mark Pazniokas (June 5, 2015). "Rubio quotes JFK at Connecticut GOP's Bush dinner". Tom Foley is already off the market. He’s signed up with the exploratory effort of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who supported Foley’s gubernatorial campaign last year.
  29. ^ "Foley: Voters ask about my lack of smile". Norwich Bulletin. Associated Press. September 20, 2010. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013.

External linksEdit

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
James Kenny
United States Ambassador to Ireland
Succeeded by
Dan Rooney
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jodi Rell
Republican nominee for Governor of Connecticut
2010, 2014
Succeeded by
Bob Stefanowski