Thomas A. Van Meter’s distinguished and far-reaching career spanned more than four decades, including contributions and achievements in public service, business, and education.
A native of Ashland, Ohio, Tom’s career began in 1965 when he worked as a congressional assistant to John Ashbrook and managed his successful re-election campaign. In 1968, Van Meter left Washington to enlist in the United States Army. As an Infantry Officer, Tom earned a Bronze Star for his combat in Vietnam.
It was a combination of his work with Congressman Ashbrook and his military service that inspired Tom to run for public office. Tom was elected into the Ohio Senate in 1972 where he served the 19th district of Ohio for almost a decade. As a legislator, Van Meter was at the forefront of major reforms to campaign finance laws, Ohio’s tax code, and school funding. He helped organize the Ohio Senate Campaign Committee, which propelled republicans to a longstanding majority in the Ohio Senate.
In 1982, Van Meter left the Ohio senate to seek the republican nomination for Governor. After an unsuccessful run, Tom founded Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates in 1983. His vision was for the firm to effectively and efficiently engage in Ohio’s political process through research and education.
Van Meter returned to the General Assembly shortly after founding Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates, serving the 76th district of the Ohio House of Representatives for one term.
Wanting to encourage interest and excitement for Ohio politics, Tom also founded the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University, his Alma Mater. To fulfill his mission to augment the capacities of the American people for self-government, the Ashbrook Center offers educational programs for students, teachers, and citizens alike.
Van Meter died suddenly in 1992 at the age of 48, but his legacy is maintained by his widow, Nancy, his daughter, Margaret Rolf, and the principals at Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates.