Mac Thornberry was born in Clarendon, Texas, and raised on the family ranch in Donley County. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the area since 1881 – a family business in which Mac remains actively involved.
After attending Clarendon public schools, Mac graduated from Texas Tech University and from the University of Texas Law School. He spent the next few years working in Washington, including a position in the Reagan Administration’s State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. He then practiced law in Amarillo while continuing to be engaged in his family’s ranching operation. Mac and his wife Sally, also a native Texan, have been married since 1986 and have two children.
Mac shares the commonsense, conservative values of the people of the 13th district. He believes that faith and family are the building blocks of any country, and we must do all we can to defend and strengthen them.
A longtime advocate of limited government, Mac is also a strong supporter of protecting private property rights, as well as reforming the tax code to close loopholes, lower rates, and make it flatter and fairer. Boosting domestic energy production of all kinds is also a top priority for Mac because he believes greater energy security will ease the strain on family budgets and help make our nation stronger and more secure.
Fully repealing and defunding Obamacare, significantly cutting government spending, and commonsense reform of automatic entitlement spending are things for which Mac fights for in Washington. Mac also pushes to create the kind of policies that encourage economic growth, rather than suffocating it. Additionally, as one of the few Members of Congress personally involved in agriculture, Mac understands the challenges agricultural producers face and has been a key player in efforts to support them.
Mac believes national security is the first job of the federal government. He has worked hard to establish himself as a leader in the defense and intelligence arenas, and he continues to be given new responsibilities and opportunities to help advance the security of our nation. In July 2013, Mac was recognized for his steady leadership and influence in national security by the national publication POLITICO. Mac was recently appointed Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee – the first Texan of either party to serve in this position. He also continues to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. This unique perch as a senior member of both committees provides him the chance to play a major role in shaping national security policy, and in conducting oversight of the military and the Obama Administration’s national security decisions.
Emerging security threats are an area in which Mac focuses. In early 2011, Mac was tapped to lead a Cybersecurity Task Force in the House of Representatives. Well-respected by Members on both sides of the aisle for his insight and leadership, the “Thornberry Task Force” created a set of recommendations to update existing laws, protect critical infrastructure, and share cybersecurity information. The group’s recommendations received a favorable response and became the basis for several cyber bills that passed the House with strong bipartisan support in 2012.
When it comes to our national defense, Mac is also widely respected as an innovator and strategic thinker. He was one of the first in Congress to recognize the need to confront the threat of terrorism. Six months before the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Mac introduced a bill to create a new Department of Homeland Security, which formed the basis of legislation signed into law by President Bush 20 months later. He has also played a major role in shaping national policy on transformation of the military and strategic nuclear issues. In addition, he is at the forefront of efforts in Congress to protect the country from threats ranging from terrorist attacks to nuclear proliferation.
National security watchers consistently praise Mac’s efforts and approach to policy making. Regularly identified as a “Republican to watch,” Mac has been called “a smart hawk who’s not afraid to buck the party line, ” as well as “one of the most consistently thoughtful and effective legislators on the House Armed Services Committee.”
Thornberry has written widely on defense matters and has appeared on FOX News, CNN, PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC and C-SPAN to provide congressional insight on homeland and national security issues.