“Barriers: The Life and Legacy of Tom Evans” is a new book by Lois Hoffman about former U.S. Congressman Tom Evans from Delaware.
With the nation divided between left and right, “Barriers” reflects on a time when politics worked in Washington.
Evans represented Delaware in the 1970s and ‘80s, and worked his way into the center of political power until scandal brought him down. He built coalitions of Democrats and Republicans, including President Ronald Reagan, to pass major environmental legislation despite opposition from big-money lobbyists.
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act and the Alaska Lands Act are among his most significant achievements. He said he is hopeful his neighbor, President-elect Joe Biden, will follow in these efforts and champion sound environmental policies.
Although he ran with the biggest names in Republican circles while in Congress, his influence extended before and far after his time there. Evans gave hundreds of speeches at political and non-political venues to share wisdom and inspire his audiences. At 89, he continues to give interviews and pen op-eds to chastise politicians who are on the wrong path, or tap the consciousness of the American people.
“Barriers” is a window into his life’s work. It speaks to a common-sense approach to legislation and consensus building in interactions with others that got lost in the decades since he served.
Evans’ legacy is a message for those serving in political office and a call to citizens: Use your voices before we cease to have them.
“Tom Evans worked tirelessly in Congress and afterward as a lobbyist and advocate to protect wetlands essential to our coastline and wild lands in Alaska. Evans reminds us all of the proud conservationist tradition of the Republican Party, who built our national park system and preserved large tracts of national forests and wilderness,” said Sen. Chris Coons. “Evans worked across the aisle to achieve great things in preserving America’s wild spaces and biodiversity, and his story is both important historically and an inspiration for our future.”