Birthdate: July 15, 1958
Birth Place: Clarendon, TX, United States
Residence: Clarendon, TX
First Elected: 1994
District: District 13
Mac Thornberry was born in Clarendon, Texas, where he still lives. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Texas Tech University in 1980 and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1983.
Thornberry served as legislative counsel to Rep. Tom Loeffler from 1983 to 1985. He was chief of staff for Rep. Larry Combest from 1985 to 1988.
In 1988, Thornberry was appointed deputy assistant secretary for legislative affairs under then-Secretary of State George Schultz. He later worked for a private law firm in Amarillo.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 1994.
Thornberry and his wife, Sally, have two children.
Mac Thornberry's district is predominantly rural and contains 42 counties, some of which have more cattle than people. Texas leads the nation in cattle production and Thornberry's district sees nearly 5 million head of cattle come to about 100 Panhandle feed yards each year. Pantex, an assembly plant for nuclear warheads, is located near the district's largest city, Amarillo.
Thornberry serves on the Armed Services Committee and in 2004 was named to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he serves as the chairman of its oversight committee.
Thornberry criticized President Barack Obama's 2010 arms-control agreement with Russia in which the two nations agreed not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear nations. Thornberry said the United States should not take nuclear options off the table and that Obama's stance could "embolden aggressors and make us more vulnerable."
He voted against an amendment in May 2012 that would have swiftly ended combat operations in Afghanistan by limiting funds only to the "safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors from Afghanistan." The measure was rejected by the House by a vote of 303-113.
"If we leave too early and the Taliban and al-Qaida return, more Americans will suffer," Thornberry said at the time.
Months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Thornberry wrote legislation to create a department of homeland security. After the attacks he worked with Sen. Joe Lieberman on legislation to create the Homeland Security Department.
During Thornberry's inaugural campaign in 1994 he said he was running because he wanted to help control the growth of government, including taxes, spending and regulations.
He believes the government should have a very small role in health care reform. He rejected President Bill Clinton's health care plan and is opposed to any government mandated or controlled system.
He remains ardently opposed to the 2010 health care reform bill championed by President Obama. During debate on the legislation, he advocated for more moderate reform and accused the government of going too far. He maintains that the bill will raise costs on individuals and businesses.
As part of his opposition to the growth of government, Thornberry for several years has refused to seek earmarks for his district. He was one of four Texas Republicans in 2010 who did not request earmarks for their districts.
He supports mandatory life sentences for criminals convicted of a third felony and he wants to limit the number appeals for death penalty cases.
Thornberry is opposed to gun control, saying the answer to violent crime lies in tougher laws for criminals who use weapons illegally.
He supported the 2002 resolution authorizing use of force in Iraq, supported President George W. Bush's tax cuts and voted to limit awards in the patient's bill of rights legislation.
Source: Associated Press