The association notes in its release that Thomas has been involved in the passage of high-profile legislation:
"Thomas spent much of the last three years of his career as lead staff negotiator for the House Republican Caucus on the state budget and many of the major legislative enactments, such as the recent transportation funding bill."
The move fits with Thomas's career before the House. From 2002 to 2008 he practiced law with a focus on real estate, personal injury and criminal law, the association said.
In addition to a quote from Smith, who announced last week he will not run for re-election, the statement cites Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, who said: "The House of Representatives' loss is PAJ's gain."
Thomas starts March 5 as the association's legislative counsel.