Juan Thomas (D-IL-11)

Juan Thomas (D-IL-11)


Juan Thomas Congressional Candidate Illinois District 11


Biography of Juan Thomas from Friends of Juan Thomas


Family & Upbringing

Juan Thomas was born and raised in Aurora, IL where he attended West Aurora Public Schools. From an early age, Juan had a passion for serving his community. Juan was elected by his colleagues from around the State of Illinois to serve as President of the Illinois Association of Student Councils during his senior year at West Aurora High School. Juan is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He received his law degree and Masters in Educational Policy Studies degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign. Juan is currently completing a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Juan grew up as a member of Gayles Memorial Missionary Baptist Church in Aurora where he was baptized. As a child, he was a member of the church choir, usher board, and the youth department. Juan is an ordained minister and has served his community by working with the youth of Aurora and through prison ministries around the State of Illinois.

Juan’s family has always been an integral part of the Aurora community. He was raised with a strong faith tradition and belief in community service. His mother, Wanda, is Senior Vice President of Programs & Services of the Association for Individual Development (AID) in Aurora, working to improve the quality of life for the disabled community. She has served on the board of numerous community organizations including, YWCA, Easter Seals, and the Visiting Nurses Association. Juan’s father, Larry, owned LT’S Restaurant in Aurora for over 25 years and was a founding member of the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce.

Juan developed his entrepreneurial spirit by working in his dad’s restaurant as a youngster and his desire to serve others by working with the disabled community at AID during summer vacations in college.

​On September 13, 2008, Juan married the love of his life the former, Angela Nichole Clay, who is from Silver Spring, MD.

Professional Career

Juan founded The Thomas Group in Aurora in 2003. His areas of practice include real estate/estate planning, governmental compliance, and family law. Prior to starting his own law practice, Juan served as Labor Counsel to Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, providing legal advice on labor and employment, and collective bargaining issues for the Office’s approximately 4,000 employees. Juan has practiced in small and large law firms where he has gained broad knowledge and experience in labor and employment law affecting the private sector, state and local governments, as well as school districts within the State of Illinois.

Juan currently serves as the National Secretary of the National Bar Association (NBA) and is a member of the NBA’s Executive Committee. He is a past Vice Chair of the NBA Legislative Division and co-chair of the “NBA Day on the Hill Visits” where leaders have gathered to meet with Members of Congress to advance the organization’s national legislative policy agenda.

In 2011, Juan was invited to become a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation because of his outstanding achievements in the legal profession. He also received the American Bar Association Small Firm & Solo Practitioners Merit Award in 2005. Juan is a Past Chair of the Young Lawyers Division of the NBA, which earned the Outstanding Division of the Year Award during his tenure. Juan has also received Presidential Service Awards from the NBA in 2005, 2007, and 2009 for his contributions to the legal profession.

Public Service

While in law school at the University of Illinois, Juan successfully ran for the West Aurora School Board, commuting 120 miles each way from Champaign to Aurora every weekend during the campaign. At the age of 25, Juan became the youngest person ever elected to the West Aurora School Board; he was re-elected to the Board in 1999.

In 1998, Juan ran for the Illinois House of Representative as a Democrat in a heavily Republican district. Although unsuccessful, due to his strong showing and the excitement of the campaign, Juan was chosen a “Face of 98” by the Aurora Beacon News that year.

In March 2004, Juan was elected a Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston and was the highest male vote-getter in the 14th Congressional District.

In 2005, Juan was the first African-American to win a township-wide office in Aurora when he was elected Township Clerk. In 2009, he was re-elected Aurora Township Clerk with 57% of the vote and received more votes than any other candidate seeking an Aurora Township office. Juan was the first Democrat to serve as Aurora Township Clerk.

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