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Hon. Thomas F. Railsback

Thomas Fisher Railsback was born January 22, 1932, in Moline, Illinois to Fred Railsback and Elizabeth Railsback. He attended the public schools of Moline, Ill., received a B.A. from Grinnell College in 1954; and a J.D., from Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, Illinois in 1957. He served in the United States Army, 1957-1959.



For 16 years, Tom Railsback represented the 19th Congressional District of Illinois in the United States House of Representatives. Prior to that he served two terms in the Illinois General Assembly. While in Congress, he served as second ranking Republican member on the House Judiciary Committe and ranking Republican member on the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control.

While the Judiciary Committee was conducting an impeachment inquiry in 1974 he was a member of the "fragile coalition," a group of 4 Republicans and 3 conservative Democrats which drafted two of the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon which were adopted by the House and led to the President’s resignation.

His District was changed in 1982. Illinois had lost two districts after the 1980 census. He was defeated for renomination by a considerably more conservative Republican who in turn was defeated by Democrat, Lane Evans in November.

From 1983 to the beginning of 1984, Mr. Railsback served as Executive Vice President of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. in charge of federal government relations. He served as a member of the Services Policy Advisory Committee for the United States Trade Representatives.

He had a law practice which specialized in the field of legislative representation and international trade.

He also was the Washington coordinator for the Federal Judges Association for several years.

He has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Law Degrees from Monmouth College in Illinois, and from his alma mater, Grinnell College. He received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Augustana College. He received the Flandrau Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in 1974 for his role as architect of the nation’s first comprehensive juvenile justice legislation. In 1974, Time Magazine included him in its list of two hundred Future American Leaders. He was inducted into the first Moline High School "Hall of Honor" in the year 2000.

Mr. Railsback is a past President of the Grinnell College Alumni Board of Directors and former Chairman of the Younger Members of Conference of the Illinois State Bar Association. He has been a member of the District of Columbia, Rock Island County, Illinois and American Bar Associations. Mr. Railsback served on the Board of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress. In 1997 he was awarded the first "President’s Award" by the Federal Judges Association for "making a difference in our lives."

He and his wife, Joyelyn, have two residences in Meridian, ID and in McCall, ID. He has four daughters, Kathryn, Julia, Margaret and Lisa and Joye has two daughters, Jennifer and Janeil and 2 sons, Brian and Derek from previous marriages.

Mr. Railsback has donated his Congressional papers and memorabilia (including his Watergate Diary) to Western Illinois University.

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