J.T. grew up on his family farm in rural Pierce County, where he still lives today. He graduated from Yelm High School and attended the University of Puget Sound, participating in the Honors classical curriculum. He earned his bachelor’s degree in History from Washington State University.
He was employed at Wilcox Farms and Wilcox Dairy Farms for 23 years, managing diverse operations including a network of food processing plants around the Northwest, an 800 cow dairy herd, and feed mills. In 2006, J.T. was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Wilcox Dairy Farms and its sister company, Wilcox Farms Inc. whose combined revenues exceeded $200 million annually.
J.T. has served as chairman of Milk-Pep, the national “Got Milk” program, with a $100 million annual budget. He has served as Chairman of the Washington Holstein Association, the Washington Poultry Industry Association and also sat on the boards of the Washington Egg Commission and the International Dairy Foods Association.
J.T. and his wife, Kathy, a 6th grade teacher in Yelm, have three children. Katie attends Whitworth University, Donnie is a marketing Manager for Amazon and Jimmy is on active duty in the US Army.
In his community, J.T. has been involved with the Roy Volunteer Fire Department, Pacific Education Institute, and the Nisqually River Basin Land Trust. He is a member of Yelm Methodist Church, Yelm Lions Club, Graham Business Association and the Orting Chamber of Commerce.
J.T. was sworn in as a state representative in 2011 serving the people of rural southeast Pierce County and southeast Thurston County in the 2nd District. He currently serves as a member of the House Republican leadership as the floor leader. This leadership role allows him a greater voice to advocate for his district and rural Washington values. J.T. has been the leadership negotiator in crucial budget and transportation negotiations and believes in strong bipartisan relationships to find solutions. He also serves on the Lieutenant Governor’s Committee on Economic Development and International Relations.
J.T.’s legislative priorities are rebuilding the rural economy, crafting a sustainable state budget and providing a quality education for children, especially in rural and less wealthy districts.
He experiences firsthand the hurdles farmers, manufacturers and small businesses face in Washington. He believes re-creating the conditions that once allowed the rural economy in Pierce and Thurston counties to flourish is paramount for his district. J.T. fights for common-sense solutions that protect jobs and the environment with responsible regulation.
J.T. believes a strong budget requires sustainability and prioritizing the core functions of government, and has played a key role in negotiating budgets to do just that.
As the spouse of a teacher, J.T. is constantly reminded of the challenges teachers and students face in the classroom and the importance of equal opportunities for all students no matter where they live or come from. He believes education should be the top priority of the state in the budget.