NAHB Political Operative Tom Baker Dies
Tom Baker, who helped turn BUILD-PAC into one of the largest and most effective political action committees in the country during his 12-year tenure as NAHB staff vice president for political affairs, died on Aug. 25 following a four-year struggle with heart disease and leukemia. He was 75.
“Tom was one of the most respected and popular political operatives in Washington,” said NAHB Executive Vice President and CEO Jerry Howard. “He had keen political instincts that contributed greatly to the association’s many successes during the 1980s and 1990s, and he captivated his many friends and colleagues with his authentic wit, humor and storytelling abilities. Tom will be sorely missed.”
The son of an Army officer, Baker was born in Minneapolis and grew up on military bases. He graduated from high school in Munich, Germany, and attended the University of Maryland, where he received a bachelor’s degree in journalism. An accomplished musician, Baker spent four years playing the trumpet in the U.S. Air Force Band and three years in American jazz combos in Germany.
Beginning his career in politics in the early 1960s as a special assistant to national Democratic Party Chairman John Bailey, Baker later worked as the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 1983, he joined NAHB as vice president of political affairs, a position he held until his retirement in 1995.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ann Marie, of Crofton, Md.; two sons, Scott Baker of Los Angeles and Gregory Baker of Crofton; a brother; two sisters; and three grandchildren.