Nurturing an interest in politics, Thomas said she met Cook and the commissioner’s executive assistant, Garry Brown, when the two came to a meeting of Round Rock High School’s Young Democrats club.
“I was intrigued,” Thomas said. “She was a Democrat in a fairly conservative state.” Thomas followed up the meeting by writing Cook a letter and then being accepted as an intern.
Cook said she is impressed with her young protégé.
“Sharp, intuitive, resourceful — those are the traits she has brought,” Cook said. “That became clear in the letter she wrote.”
Thomas said she has learned quite a bit from the experience.
“I’ve researched a lot about the conservation and preservation of land,” she said. “I’ve learned about the huge process that goes into grant writing. I’ve been introduced to how the state and federal government combine to shape our lives, especially with parks and just the scarcity of funds.”
Thomas plans to finish her Round Rock High career with a busy senior year. In addition to being active with the Young Democrats, she runs cross country, plays cello in the orchestra and will be editor of the student newspaper, “The Spitfire.”
She is considering professional careers in journalism or diplomacy, after college.
Like Cook, Thomas — even in a reliably “red” city and county — is, when asked, not shy about explaining why she is a Democrat.
“Socially, I align with the Democratic causes,” Thomas said. “A lot of people are having their basic rights attacked on a lot of points. I especially stand behind Planned Parenthood. I think we should fund education and work on restricting gun ownership — or at least make buying an assault rifle harder.”