A Native of Washington
Thomas was born in Yakima, where he worked in the orchards while growing up. When he worked in the fruit packing plants, he was a member of the Teamsters union. He graduated from Washington State University with high honors, worked as a park ranger at Mt. Rainier (and has climbed Mt. Rainier ten times), and taught in public schools in Norway, before earning his law degree from the University of Washington.
Over 30 Years of Wide-Ranging Legal Experience
In his 33-year legal career, Thomas worked as state Assistant Attorney General, as counsel in the State Legislature, and as a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Thurston County. He wrote briefs for cases before the United States Supreme Court, and argued cases before other federal courts, the Washington State Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals. Later, he went into private practice, representing public and private clients and serving as a legal mediator and arbitrator.
Currently, he is the Hearing Examiner for Thurston County and the cities of Olympia and DuPont, where he judges legal disputes about property development. He taught in the Land Use Certification Program of the University of Washington School of Law. He holds the highest rating – AV-preeminent – given by Martindale-Hubbell, the national attorney rating organization.
A Leader in his Community
Thomas served on the board of the Nisqually River Basin Land Trust and the Washington Environmental Council, served on the land use section of the Washington State Bar Association, helped establish the Volunteer Legal Clinic in Olympia, and was a long-time volunteer at a local kitchen for the homeless. He is married to Fay Wright-Bjorgen, a retired college English teacher, and lives near Olympia.
In his free time, Thomas enjoys hiking, climbing, and traveling, especially to Venice.