Tom Lantos was elected to his tenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 1998. He was first elected to Congress in November 1980 by the lowest plurality of any Member of Congress that year -- 46% to his opponent's 43%. In 1998, he was reelected with 74% of the vote.
An American by choice, Tom Lantos was born in Budapest, Hungary, on February 1, 1928. He was 16 years old when Nazi Germany occupied his native country. As a teenager, he was a member of the anti-Nazi underground and later of the anti-Communist student movement. Tom was awarded an academic scholarship to study in the United States, and he arrived here in 1947. He received a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle and later earned a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
For three decades before his election to Congress (1950-1980), Tom Lantos was a professor of economics, an international affairs analyst for public television, and a consultant to a number businesses. He also served in senior advisory roles to members of the United States Senate. In 2007, he became the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
In January 2008, Lantos disclosed that he had been diagonosed with cancer of the esophagus. He died at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in February 2008.