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 families ranching operation.
Mac shares the values of the people of the 13th district. He is a longtime advocate of lower taxes and limited government. Boosting domestic energy production, protecting private property rights, and reforming health care are top priorities for Mac. He strongly supports cutting government spending and creating 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 has established himself as a leader in national security, an area in which he continues to be given new responsibilities and opportunities to help advance the security of our nation. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Armed Services Committee where he also leads the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats. He also continues to serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
In early 2011, Mac was tapped by the Speaker of the House and Majority Leader to spearhead a Cybersecurity Task Force to guide House legislative action on this growing national security and economic threat. Well-respected by Members on both sides of the aisle for his insight and leadership, they asked Mac to chair a group of lawmakers representing nine major committees of jurisdiction. The charge was to make recommendations in a number of areas including updating existing laws, protecting critical infrastructure, and sharing cybersecurity information. On October 5, 2011, the Task Force released its recommendations, which have received a favorable response from Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, as well as the White House, private businesses, and other outside organizations.
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.
Mac and his wife Sally, also a native Texan, have been married since 1986 and have two children.