Tom Wakely is an unabashed socialist and political activist from San Antonio, Texas. He is a Vietnam-era USAF veteran who worked with César Chávez on the grape boycott campaign. He organized nurses for the SEIU; later serving as an International Representative for the OPEIU and as a Business Agent for the IBEW.
Tom left the labor movement in the mid-1980s to attend the Chicago Theological Seminary where he organized an FOR chapter. An active member of the Democratic Socialist of America Religion and Socialism Commission he later moved to Wisconsin to serve as the Executive Director of the Southern Lakes Communities Organized for Public Service, a faith-based non-profit. He organized the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lakes, serving as the congregation’s first pastor for a number of years before returning to Texas to serve as the Executive Director of the Economic Justice Foundation in Austin. It was a role that earned him a Community Service Award from the NAACP chapter in that city. When David McReynolds — a hero of the antiwar movement, staff member of the War Resisters League, and FOR member since 1949 — ran for President in 2000 on the Socialist Party ticket, Tom organized his campaign in Texas.
Needing a break from his political and community activism Tom and Lety (his wife) moved to the Pacific Coast of Mexico where they opened a Wine Bar/Jazz Club on the beach. When Tom’s mother was recommended for hospice care, he and Lety closed VIVA VINO and moved back to Texas to care for her; after she died the hospice agency asked them to consider taking care of other patients. Over the next 12 years they took 84 people into their home, caring for them until they died.
In 2016, Tom was the Texas Democratic Party nominee for U.S. Congress (TX 21 congressional district). In 2020, he was the Texas Green Party nominee for the same district (Congress-TX21). Now retired, he and Lety live in New Mexico.