Jefferson City woman embraces job’s ability to help people


Pat Thomas loves that no two days are the same.

As chief of staff for Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, she spends much of her time sitting in on meetings, previewing and drafting legislation and calling interested parties asking for feedback.

“It’s about being flexible and negotiating the process and just logistics — it’s a lot about logistics,” Thomas said.

But one of her favorite parts is helping people. For example, when she received a call early in the pandemic from someone who had perfected a non-bleach-base sanitizing product for child care centers but he didn’t know how to get it approved, she knew just how to help.

“My job is fun in that I sent a couple emails, made a couple follow-up calls to the Department of Health, and we got them connected with the right people,” Thomas said. “Within a month or so, they were on the approved products list. Helping people like that is gratifying, and you feel like you’re really helping make government more navigable.”

She began working at the Capitol as chief of staff for a different senator in 2011.

“I love getting to meet a ton of people from all over the state,” she said. “You just meet people with some of the most amazing stories.”

Thomas recently received the 2023 Legislative Staff Leadership Award from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her work in the Missouri General Assembly.

“I’m very honored,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized.”

She is passionate about workforce development — helping people improve their educational background and join fields that are in high demand and ensuring Missouri has a trained workforce.

“I think part of what I was recognized for is understanding and helping people to see the value in some legislation,” she said. “I’m really proud of last year’s bill for the Fast Track program.”

The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a program designed to provide adults with the education and skills needed to enter the workforce in fields that are deemed to have upcoming shortages of employees.

“I’m super excited that we were able to get that extended and help more people find additional job training and certifications,” she said.

Her goals are to keep trying to make government easier for people to navigate by eliminating hurdles and making processes more efficient.

“Government is so big and people don’t know how it works or how to navigate it, so sometimes we just need to help them,” she said.

Along with her professional role, Thomas is a Missouri football fan, a member of First Christian Church, the treasurer of the Missouri Republican Party and a soon-to-be grandma.

“I’m pretty excited about that happening on the horizon,” she said.

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