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A fifth generation Oklahoman and proud member of the Chickasaw Nation, Tom Cole was born April 28, 1949 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He graduated from Grinnell College in with a B.A. in History. His postgraduate degrees include an M.A .from Yale University and a Ph.D from the University of Oklahoma, both in British History. Cole served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1988 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1999 he was Oklahoma's Secretary of State. He was elected to Congress in 2002 and served as the Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in the 2008 cycle. Tom Cole is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Republican Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus.