Rhonda Howard Massie is married to Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican who represents Kentucky’s 4th congressional district. They were high school sweethearts and have four children together.
Rep. Massie was in the headlines as lawmakers worked to approve a $2 trillion stimulus package to assist families and businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Senate unanimously approved the bill on March 25. The plan in the House was to hold a “voice vote” in order to quickly move the bill to President Trump’s desk for his signature.
Rep. Massie called for a roll call vote, which could have delayed the bill’s passage because many lawmakers would have needed to travel back to Washington, D.C. in order to vote in-person. But his push was unsuccessful and the president signed the stimulus package on March 27.
It’s unclear what Rep. Massie’s wife, Rhonda, had to say about the situation as it played out. Despite her husband’s public profile, she has tended to stay out of the spotlight and does not appear to have active social media profiles (at least none that are publicly visible).
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Rhonda Howard & Thomas Massie Began Dating In High School & Both Earned Engineering Degrees From MIT
In 2016, he shared a throwback photo on Twitter from their prom in 1989. He was a senior when she was a sophomore. He reshared the photo in 2019 with the caption, “I promised her if she went to the prom with me I would take her to the White House formal some day. lol.”
Massie went on to MIT after graduating from high school. Howard joined him there two years later. They both majored in engineering. Massie earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1993, while Howard chose mechanical engineering and graduated in 1995, according to MIT newspaper the Tech and Fortune magazine.
2. Rhonda Howard & Thomas Massie Launched a Tech Company While Still In College
Thomas Massie and Rhonda Howard both loved learning how technologies worked and competing in science fairs when they were high school students, NBC News reported.
They used that drive to launch their own technology company while still students at MIT. According to a Fortune magazine article from 1996, Massie designed a device called the Phantom, which “gives computer users the uncanny sensation of fingering objects that don’t exist… At first glance, the Phantom seems an unlikely breakthrough: A thimble on the end of a small, jointed metal arm. But magic happens when you stick a finger in the thimble and move it around–you seem to be touching invisible objects, thanks to forces exerted against your finger by computer-controlled electric motors on the arm.”
The Massies’ company, SensAble Technologies, was formed around the technology. According to MIT newspaper the Tech, “SensAble acquired over $40 million in venture capital funding and developed many important patents.” According to Rep. Massie’s congressional website, the software created at SensAble Technologies “is now used to design automobiles, jewelry, shoes, dental prosthetics, and even reconstructive implants for wounded soldiers.”
The Massies moved back to Kentucky in 2003 after profits declined, the Tech reported.
3. Rhonda & Thomas Massie Live ‘Off the Grid’ In Northern Kentucky In a Home They Designed Themselves That Relies Partly On Solar Power
After returning to Kentucky in 2003, the Massies purchased 1,200 acres from Rhonda’s parents, according to NBC News. They constructed their unique home in Garrison, Kentucky, which is a census-designated area of Lewis County. It is located in northeastern Kentucky along the Ohio River.
The Massie home is off-the-grid. Rep. Massie explained on his congressional website, “I designed and built my own house which generates all of its own power using a combination of solar, geothermal, propane, and wood.” In November 2019, he shared a photo of the solar panels in his front yard. He explained, “Snow is a real factor when you’re off the grid and using solar. Unlike the solar panels mounted on my roof, I designed these ground based solar panel mounts to be adjustable all the way to ‘snow mode,’ which is vertical so the snow doesn’t accumulate.”
According to a search of online records, the house was valued at about $28,000 in 2019.
4. Rhonda Howard Massie Co-Owns Their Cattle Farm, Which Has An Estimated Value Up to $5 Million
Rhonda and Thomas Massie developed a cattle farm on their Garrison, Kentucky, property. According to the Kentucky Secretary of State website, they registered the farm in May of 2001.
The company is called Howard Massie Farms LLC. Its work is described as “Agricultural Production – Livestock and Animal Specialties” on the registered documents.
The cattle farm has been successful over the past two decades. Rep. Massie’s 2017 financial disclosure form, as well as a report from the Center for Responsive Politics, state that the farm his valued between $1 million and $5 million. Members of Congress only have to give broad estimates when disclosing financial information, as opposed to exact amounts.
5. Rhonda & Thomas Massie Have Two Sons & Two Daughters
Rhonda and Thomas Massie are the parents of four children. They have two sons and two daughters He shared the above photo to Twitter on December 24, 2019, with the caption, “Merry Christmas from the sassy Massie family!”
In 2017, Rep. Massie shared that he brought his younger daughter to the White House Christmas Ball. He wrote on Facebook, “My wife let me use her ticket to take my youngest daughter to the White House Christmas Ball recently. My daughter is never one to miss an opportunity, so she bravely asked President Trump if he could ‘make school lunches great again?!’ Instead of laughing, he took her very seriously and said he needed to work with me on that. He then told her I had more power than him.”
But in December 2019, Rhonda was his date to the Christmas ball. Rep. Massie posted a picture of himself and Rhonda posed underneath the seal of the President of the United States.