Former U.S. rep. Tom Bliley, Jr. dies at 91

 November 17, 2023

Tom Bliley, Jr. - the former U.S. congressman from Virginia - has died at the age of 91. 

Bliley is reported by Richmond Times-Dispatch to have died at his home in Henrico County on Thursday. This, according to the outlet, followed "a brief illness." No further specifics were provided.

The news of Bliley's passing has been confirmed by Daniel Woodfin and M. Carey Bliley. Woodfin is the chief operating officer and M. Carey Bliley is the president and CEO of Bliley's Funeral Home.

The pair wrote:

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Thomas J. Bliley, Jr., a third generation President and leader of our family business. Today, we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual who played a pivotal role in shaping our company and our community.

Who was Tom Bliley, Jr.?

Bliley is likely best known for his nearly two decades in Congress. But, before that, in the 1970s, he was the mayor of Richmond, Virginia. And, before that, he was a member of the Richmond City Council.

Bliley was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1981, as a Republican, and he would remain there, representing the state's Seventh District, until the turn of the millennium.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bliley is probably best known for a piece of legislation - The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act - that freed banks to offer financial services that had been barred by restrictions that were still in place from the Depression.

The outlet reports:

The measure . . . included consumer protections. Among them: a requirement that banks explain their array of services and withhold, at the request of their customers, sensitive financial information that might have been shared with other businesses.

Bliley was also well-known for a willingness to try to find common ground with his Democratic colleagues, which perhaps came from the fact that he was formerly a Democrat.

"He embodied the Spirit of Virginia"

Bliley's public life did not end alongside his time in Congress.

It is reported that he subsequently remained active in local affairs in Richmond. He also owned a funeral home.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) is among those who have paid tribute to Bliley, following the news of his passing.

Youngkin wrote, "Virginia mourns the passing of Thomas J. Bliley Jr. During his time as Richmond mayor and as a member of Congress, he embodied the Spirit of Virginia through his service to our Commonwealth."

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