Thomas Kufen was born in 1973 in Essen and after completing his training as an office administrator, he worked as a commercial employee in the family business for nine years. In 1989, Kufen joined the Christ-Democratic Party (CDU), where he held various positions in the course of his political career. Most recently, he was chairman of the CDU faction in the City of Essen Council. In the years 2000 to 2005 Thomas Kufen was a member of the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, and from 2005 to 2010 he was Integration Commissioner of the Government of North Rhine-Westphalia. 2012 Thomas Kufen returned as a deputy in the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia, where he was the energy policy spokesman of the CDU parliamentary group and member of the Group Executive Board of the CDU parliamentary group until 2015.
On October 21, 2015 Thomas Kufen was elected lord mayor of the City of Essen.