Thomas Nelson was raised in Little Chute. After graduating from Little Chute High School in 1994, earned a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University.
He was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2004, where he served as Majority Leader from 2008 to 2010.
In 2011, he was elected Outagamie County Executive and oversees 31 departments that comprise 1,200 employees. He and his wife Maria welcomed their first child in January,