From Peace Corps Wiki
Thomas Evert Petri (born May 28, 1940), American politician, has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 1979, representing Wisconsin's 6th congressional district.
Born as Thomas Evert in Marinette, Wisconsin, his father was killed during World War II and he adopted the name Petri after his mother remarried when he was still a young child. He graduated from Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Petri then attended Harvard University, where he received his bachelors of arts and law degrees. During 1966–67, he worked with the Peace Corps and the United States Agency for International Development in Somalia.
Petri served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1973 to 1979, when he entered the House of Representatives. Petri serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Education and Labor Committee. Petri is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem-cell research, although he generally opposes abortion rights. Although he also has called for a moratorium on the death penalty, he has voted against other restrictions on it.
Petri is generally viewed as a political centrist and is well known in Congress for his willingness to work with Democrats to address major issues. "Maybe I'm missing something," he's said. "Sometimes I think you can be more effective by working with people."
Petri has endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2008 presidential election.
One of Petri's top priorities since arriving in Congress has been to improve education and student loan and grant programs. As a member of the Education Committee in Congress, he has introduced several bills to help students get access to low-cost loans.
In 2006, Petri introduced the Student Aid Reward (STAR) Act, which encourage colleges and universities to voluntarily participate in the more cost-effective student loan programs and retain $10 billion in savings for increased Pell Grant aid for their students. The legislation could boost Pell Grants by up to $800 per student while also devoting more than $3 billion of the savings toward deficit reduction — at no additional cost to taxpayers.
Petri plans to reintroduce his Income-Dependent Education Assistance (IDEA) Act in the 110th Congress. IDEA streamlines student loan repayment through an improved income-contingent loan repayment with direct IRS collection.
In 2005, Petri introduced the Direct Loan Reward Act to achieve savings of some $18 billion over the next 10 years in the federal student loan program. Petri says the present student loan program includes big subsidies for private banks that are unnecessary. “If we stop subsidizing banks and just provide the loans directly from the U.S. Treasury, we could free up billions of dollars to be used for Pell scholarships,” said Petri, vice-chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee.
According to The Reporter (the newspaper in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), Petri has secured funds for the construction of the North Fond du Lac bridge overpassing the Canadian National Train Yard.