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From GSU student-athlete to House representative

When “Able” Mable Thomas began her journey at Georgia State University, she was not at the university that students would recognize today. In the 80s, Georgia State was just starting to expand its campus in the downtown area and, overall, was still trying to find its identity.

Thomas played on the women’s basketball team in the mid-80s and began to develop her leadership skills needed to eventually run for office. She served as a senator on the executive board of the Student Government Association.

Now, she’s a House Representative of District 56 in Georgia.

Thomas’ mission as representative is to insure that the voices of her district were always heard. Even while representing District 56, she still strives to help other citizens in need.

“It has never mattered to whether you were in my district or not, because I’m always able and ready for help,” Thomas said.

Growing up in Atlanta, Thomas was dedicated to her faith, family and achieving equality with others.

When Thomas received her B.S. in public administration from Georgia State, she became a presidential delegate for the Democratic National Convention in 1984. She was a delegate for Jesse Jackson, who was the first major party black candidate to run a nationwide campaign.

Thomas frequently uses the mantra “peace and love,” as she sees those are the ways to truly make change. By using those values, she tries to go above and beyond to serve the people she represents.

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Even though Jackson didn’t achieve the nomination, Thomas still felt accomplished and she found her drive to eventually run for office in 1997 for a seat in the Atlanta City Council.

In 2008, Thomas ran for the House of Representatives, challenging longtime Georgia representative John Lewis. She lost, but even in defeat, she was still was determined to serve Georgia.

Thomas would face the incumbent candidate in Grace Towns Hamilton, who has a decorated history as she was the first black woman to be elected into the Georgia General Assembly. Hamilton also helped implement the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the state.

Thomas would defeat Hamilton in 1984, but would eventually return to the Georgia House in 2000. This victory for Thomas was significant as it’s difficult to unseat an incumbent candidate in politics.

Thomas, in her tenure as a representative, has been through controversial times in the Georgia House.

In 2015, the Georgia religious freedom bill, or “SB 129,” was introduced to the Georgia Senate. The bill was controversial because many were divided whether one’s religious beliefs take precedence over those especially in the LGBT community.

“I fight the ​good fight and know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us,” Thomas said.

Thomas believed that if the bill was passed, it would be an infringement on the rights of fellow Georgia citizens, especially those of the lesbian and gay community.

Thomas set up a phone line to those who opposed the bill, and many called and voiced their opposition to what many saw a potentially discriminatory law.

Throughout her now three-decade political career, Thomas has shown that for serving her community doesn’t just stop at the 56th district. She’s now looking into more community outreach programs, specifically those aimed at the youth of her district.