TOMMY GEORGE THOMPSON Biography - Polititians


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Name: Tommy George Thompson                                                         
Born: 19 November 1941 Elroy, Wisconsin                                             
Tommy George Thompson (born November 19, 1941), a United States politician, was     
the 7th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the 42nd Governor of         
Wisconsin. Thompson was a candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, but     
dropped out early after a poor performance in polls such as the Iowa Straw Poll.     
Thompson was born in Elroy, Wisconsin, where his father, Allen, ran and owned a     
gas station and country grocery store, and his mother, Julia, was a teacher.         
He is a former Captain in the United States Army and United States Army Reserve,     
and holds a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School.                 
Thompson was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966, became assistant       
Assembly minority leader in 1973, and Assembly minority leader in 1981. His         
brother Ed has been mayor of Tomah and a candidate for governor.                     
From 1987 to 2001, Thompson served as the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin, having         
been elected to an unprecedented four terms.                                         
Thompson's initiatives during his 13 years as governor of Wisconsin were his         
Wisconsin Works welfare reform and school choice programs. In 1990 Thompson         
pushed for the creation of the country's first parental school-choice program,       
allowing low-income Milwaukee families to send children to the private or public     
school of their choice at taxpayer expense. He also created the BadgerCare           
program, designed to provide health coverage to those families whose employers       
don't provide health insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.     
Through the federal waiver program, Thompson helped replicate this program in       
several states when he became Secretary of Health and Human Services.               
From 1998 to 1999, he served as president of the Council of State Governments       
and, with the organization's chairman, Senator Kenneth McClintock, the nonvoting     
member from Puerto Rico, led a top-level delegation to the People's Republic of     
China. Thompson left office when he was appointed by President George W. Bush as     
HHS Secretary. He was also a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors and had an     
Acela locomotive named for him.                                                     
His brother, Ed Thompson, was the mayor of Tomah, Wisconsin, and was the             
Libertarian Party candidate in the 2002 Wisconsin gubernatorial election.           
Thompson announced his resignation from HHS on December 3, 2004, and served         
until January 26, 2005, when the Senate confirmed his successor, Michael O.         
After first announcing the formation of an exploratory committee in late 2006,       
Thompson announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election on April 1,     
During a May 3, 2007, presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential         
Library Thompson said in response to a question from moderator Chris Matthews       
that a private employer opposed to homosexuality should have the right to fire a     
gay worker. He said, "I think that is left up to the individual business. I         
really sincerely believe that that is an issue that business people have got to     
make their own determination as to whether or not they should be." He called CNN     
the following morning to say he didn't hear the question correctly. He               
apologized, saying, "It's not my position. There should be no discrimination in     
the workplace."                                                                     
Thompson had stated he would drop out of the race if he did not finish either       
first or second in the Ames straw poll on August 11, 2007. Thompson finished         
sixth, with just 7% of the vote, despite the fact that some major contenders         
were not competing in the poll. On August 12, Thompson officially announced he       
would drop out of the race.                                                         
In October of 2007, Thompson endorsed Rudy Giuliani. Thompson told the               
Associated Press in a statement that "Rudy Giuliani has shown that he is a true     
leader. He can and will win the nomination and the presidency. He is America's       
mayor, and during a period of time of great stress for this country he showed       
tremendous leadership." He has since endorsed Senator John McCain after Giuliani's   
withdrawal from the presidential race.