The Public Servant that Makes a Difference
As the product of a pioneering South Florida family, Tom is running for Florida House District 89 to make a difference. Tom is a lifelong Floridian who has first-hand experience in the public, private, and academic sectors. Tom and his wife of 28 years, Lynn Gustafson, have raised three children, Rachel, Cortney, and Andrew. All three are proud Florida State Seminoles.
A Legacy of Serving Florida
Representing the state of Florida and its people is second nature for Tom. He served in the Florida House of Representatives for 14 years; from 1976 to 1990,holding many leadership roles including the Speaker of the House (1988-1990). When Tom was 28 years old, Speaker J. Hyatt Brown selected him to serve as the majority whip. Thereafter, he orchestrated major law revisions in successive terms as chairman of the Insurance Committee, Transportation Committee, Healthcare Committee, and Criminal Justice Committee. Known by his former colleagues for skillfully tackling the tough and complex issues, Tom understands what needs to be accomplished to elevate the discussion in Tallahassee and create the economic growth our coastal communities seek.
Academic Service & Attorney at Law
Most recently, Tom was a director in several academic institutions from 2003 to August 2012. While at Nova Southeastern University, Tom served as a Director of Government and Ocean Policy. Later at Florida International University, Tom served as a Director of Government and Transportation Policy at the Lehman Center for Transportation Research and subsequently served as the Director, Research Programs in the Office of Finance and Administration. Tom also practiced law for 30 years in private firms, including his own. As a former small business owner and academic professional, Tom has seen the economic adversities facing our state’s entrepreneurs and educators.
Seeing the need for leadership to address these challenges, Tom wants to bring his experience in the academic, private, and public sectors back to Florida's Capital for the coastal communities of House District 89.
Recognition in Public Service
Tom has received more than a dozen awards recognizing his service and dedication to the state of Florida. They include:
- Florida Trust for Historic Preservation's Preservation Advocate Award (2009)
- Florida Public Transportation Association Hall of Fame (2006)
- South Florida Coordinating Council's "Vision of the Future" Award (1990)
- The 1989 Class of the Florida House of Representatives' Award "…for his leadership and vision and for opening of the House of the Capital to greater opportunities for participation by freshman legislation, enabling us to use the process to represent out constituents and to serve the people of Florida."
- American Jewish Congress's Distinguished Civic Achievement Award (1989)
- Florida High Technology and Industry Council's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Florida's Economic Development through Technology Initiatives (1989)
- National Association of the School of Psychologist's Award for Legislative Leadership Benefiting Children and Youth in Florida (1989)
- Florida Nurse Association's Award for Support of the Nursing Profession and Commitment to Improving the Quality of Life for all of Florida's Children (1988)
- American Academy for Pediatrics’ Certificate of Commendation "…for important contributions made to the mission and goals of the Academy and to children." (1987)
- Florida Attorney General's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Crime Prevention (1986)
- FTP-NEA Friend of Education Award (1983)
- Florida Leagues of Cities' Prominent Personality Award (1983)
- Florida and National Wildlife Federation's Conservation Legislator Award (1980)
- Ft. Lauderdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Man of the Year Award (1978)
- Sierra Club Award (1979)
- Florida League of Anglers Distinguish Service Award (1979)
- John Michael Stratton Award for Outstanding Senator, University of Florida Student Senate (1974)
- Juris Doctorate, University of Florida, 1974
- Bachelor of Arts, University of Notre Dame, 1971
- Nova High School, 1967