President, Gables Good Government Committee
Not long after graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Thomas W. Snook was on a cutter off the coast of Vietnam in 1969 when he decided the path to his future went through law school. “It was the late ’60s. I wanted to bring about change to the system, and help people,” he says. He went on to earn a degree from Syracuse University School of Law and served as a Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps) officer and Chief Trial Judge before retiring from the military in 1993. After settling in Coral Gables, he practiced maritime law before being appointed a U.S. Administrative Law Judge at the Social Security Administration. He retired again in 2016. Snook is president of the local chapter of the Military Officers Association of America and sits on the board of Miami-Dade’s Commission on Human Rights.
Snook was named president of the nonprofit Gables Good Government Committee (GGG) after he, founder and former Mayor Don Slesnick, and others decided to reactivate the dormant group last year “to support issues and causes that preserve and improve the quality of life in Coral Gables and promote the effective and efficient management of its government,” according to the mission statement. Proposed zoning code changes that could allow construction of high-rise buildings on Miracle Mile are a key issue, Snook says. The committee has asked that a city commission vote on passage of the revised code be put off until after the April municipal election. The group does not endorse or oppose political candidates.
What He Says
An avid bicyclist, Snook says that pedaling up and down every street in the city – a distance he estimates at nearly 500 miles – has deepened his appreciation of the character and charm of the Gables. “This is a city of trees, of shade. It’s green,” he says. “Cycling, especially during the pandemic, is a wonderful way to get out of the house. Riding through the neighborhoods gives me a peaceful feeling. It’s comforting.” Through the GGG, “we want to preserve the hometown feel of Coral Gables, and not turn it into a purely commercial, over-developed area. We want to maintain it for the reasons we moved here. This truly is the City Beautiful.”