Local business owner Thom Baker seeks to leave Columbia a gift when he retires. Tucked away in his equipment-lain home office, Thom Baker of...
I live in Columbia and have been married for 30 years to Becky. We have two sons in their 20’s. I graduated from Hickman High School and attended MU, eventually getting my law degree there. I worked various blue- and white-collar jobs for seven years between undergrad and law school.
I’ve practiced law for over 21 years in a variety of areas: criminal, civil, small business, family law, contracts, whistle-blower cases, etc. I have handled (approximately) 1,000 cases of nearly all types possible, and represented close to 1,000 Mid-Missourians in cases from speeding tickets to felonies to one where I represented a whistle-blower who helped the federal government recover $158 million from Citibank after the mortgage crisis. I have represented clients in 20 of the 46 judicial circuits in Missouri, three Courts of appeals, and several Federal Courts.
My personal life is a little boring, but I did race mountain bikes when I was younger, and a world class professional kick-boxer broke my nose while we were sparring in the 80’s.
I drink two, big mugs of coffee most mornings.
Saturdays are usually spent taking it easy in the morning – coffee with Becky and taking care of a few household tasks, including yard work. Becky and I will sometimes go for a bike ride in the afternoon, a movie at Ragtag, a play at Greenhouse Theater Productions, or catch up with friends.
I am the superior choice in the three areas Mid-Missourians care about with judge candidates. First, legal experience, which I listed above. When you compare my legal experience with my opponent, I am far more experienced. The second area is bonding with the community. I’ve lived here for over 30 years and have represented hundreds of Missourians, as well as worked alongside Mid-Missourians in other jobs. I understand the people in our community. Third, life experience. There is a reason we generally choose older, seasoned people to be judges; we expect judges to make reasoned decisions based upon the law, their knowledge of the community and their personal life experiences. I am 54 and have had significant life experiences outside of my legal practice. Finally, I’m an excellent listener, patient, and ethically strong. I have lived in this community long enough that if I had bad characteristics, they would be known.
This one is a question I cannot really answer for ethical reasons. If I were to say that I would “fight for businesses,” ethically, I could not then take any cases involving businesses because I would have a bias in their favor. I do understand how small businesses work and have run one for close to 20 years. I will do much better with understanding and handling cases involving businesses than someone who has not run or represented small businesses. To be clear, though, all my decisions will be based upon applying the Constitution of the U.S. and Missouri law to the facts presented to me, and I will give all parties a fair opportunity to be heard. I will not rule in favor of one party or another based upon bias or prejudice.