Tom Cole is a fifth generation Oklahoman and an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. He is currently the only Native American serving in Congress. He was awarded the Congressional Leadership award by the National Congress of American Indians and was inducted in the Chickasaw Hall of Fame. Cole is a member of a distinguished Chickasaw family. His great-aunt, renowned story teller, Te Ata Thompson Fisher, was the first person to be named an Oklahoma treasure. His late mother, Helen, served as the mayor of Moore, Oklahoma, state representative, state senator, and the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s appointee to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. Cole’s late father, John, served twenty years in the United States Air Force and worked two decades as a civilian federal employee at Tinker Air Force Base. Tom and his wife Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.
Tom Cole became the representative for Oklahoma’s fourth congressional district on November 6, 2002. Time Magazine has called Cole “one of the sharpest minds in the House.” In addition to his other duties, he serves on the House Appropriations Committee, as a deputy whip in the United States House, and as Republican Co-Chairman of the Native American Caucus. Before his election to Congress, he served as a college instructor, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and as Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. He was also a founding partner and past president of CHS& Associates, a nationally recognized consulting and survey research firm, based in Oklahoma City.
Representative Cole is a scholar of history and politics. He holds a B.A. from Grinnell College, a M.A. from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He was a Thomas Watson Fellow and a Fullbright Fellow at the University of London, and he serves on the national boards of Fulbright Association and the Aspen Institute.