MERRITT, THOMAS CHARLES (1948~) Representative Tommy Merritt is a native of Kilgore. He attended Kilgore College and graduated from Texas Christian University with a bachelor of business administration. With his knack for growing and prospering small businesses, he founded Gregg Industrial Insulators, Inc. in 1976. Married for 31 years, Representative Merritt and his wife Janet have three children, Missy, Meredith, and Thomas. The Merritts attend the First Baptist Church in Longview and Kilgore.
Representative Merritt was re-elected to serve a fourth term, with sixty percent of the vote in the March 12, 2002, Republican Primary. House District 7 now encompasses Gregg County and the northern portion of Smith County to include Lindale, Winona and Hide-A-Way Lake.
In addition to Representative Merritt's vast business experience he was elected as a director to the Gregg County Appraisal Board and served from 1986 to 1993. He was appointed to the Sabine River Authority by Governor Clements in 1990 and concluded his term in 1995. He was elected in 1996 to the Texas House of Representatives. Representative Merritt serves as a member of the House Committee on Border and International Affairs and is a member of the Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations Committee. At the close of the 76th legislative session, Representative Merritt received the prestigious G.J. Sutton award from the Legislative Black Caucus. Representative Merritt is the first republican House member to receive the award in two decades.
Representative Merritt is a friend of law enforcement; from 1971 to 1974 he served the United States Postal Service as a Postal Inspector. Additionally, in 1984, he traveled with the Council for a Secure America to Israel to gain a better understanding of terrorism and how the Israelis combat it.
Representative Merritt was selected by President Bush to serve, as the only elected official from Texas, on the Bush-Cheney Presidential transition energy advisory team. Representative Merritt is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission since his 1996 appointment by Governor Bush. He is a member of the Rail Working Group of the National Conference of State Legislators.