Fellow for Social Policy & Politics
During the 2004 presidential election, Hayden Thomas’ U.S. History teacher orchestrated a mock debate in front of the entire middle school. Hayden didn’t want to portray the incumbent President Bush nor Senator John Kerry. Instead, he channeled his inner tree-hugger and played the role of Ralph Nader, entering the auditorium on a bicycle. That experience ignited a passion for politics and social issues that has continued to grow over time.
In 2012, Hayden graduated summa cum laude from Humboldt State University where he studied Political Science, with an emphasis in Advocacy, Institutions, and Public Relations. While at HSU, Hayden was active on student government, serving as Associated Student Representative of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. He also worked with several campaigns, ranging from local water politics to President Obama’s re-election campaign (the Green Party thing was fairly short-lived). In the autumn following commencement, Hayden was selected as a Panetta Congressional Intern where he studied at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, CA, before shipping off to work for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Hayden returned to his native Southern California, where he elected to pursue his law degree at UCLA. While in law school, he chaired the Let’s Go Liberation! Clinic, assisting homeless and at-risk transgender individuals with legal issues and served as Chief Articles Editor for the UCLA Criminal Justice Law Review.
Growing up in a liberal household planted firmly in the middle of a very conservative community taught him a few things about compromise, consensus, and pragmatism. While his progressive principles never waiver, he is passionate about getting things done. At Third Way, Hayden uses his unique experiences to make progress on our nation’s most contentious issues.
After business hours, you’ll probably see Hayden at a music venue, occasionally on the stage.