Tommy Thompson: Wikis


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Tommy George Thompson

In office
February 2, 2001 – January 26, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Donna Shalala
Succeeded by Mike Leavitt

In office
January 5, 1987 – February 1, 2001
Lieutenant Scott McCallum
Preceded by Tony Earl
Succeeded by Scott McCallum

Born November 19, 1941 (1941-11-19) (age 68)
Elroy, Wisconsin
Political party Republican
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Madison
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Rank Captain

Tommy George Thompson (born November 19, 1941), a United States politician, was the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin, after which he served as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. 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.[1]


Early life

Thompson was born in Elroy, Wisconsin, where his father, Allen, owned and ran a gas station and country grocery store, and his mother, Julia, was a teacher.[2] 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.

Political career

State Assembly

Thompson was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966; he became the Assembly's assistant minority leader in 1973 and minority leader in 1981.[3] He was famous for aggressively utilizing parliamentary procedure to give his minority party some limited say in the legislative process. Since this use of procedure was invariably one of delay and obstruction, he soon received the nickname "Dr. No" by the frustrated majority.

Governor of Wisconsin

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 14 years as governor of Wisconsin were his Wisconsin Works welfare reform and school choice programs.[3] 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 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 non-voting 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 a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors and had an Acela locomotive named for him.[4][5][6]

Health and Human Services Secretary

Thompson at the 2004 HealthierUS summit

Thompson announced his resignation from HHS on December 3, 2004, and served until January 26, 2005, when the Senate confirmed his successor, Michael O. Leavitt.

2008 Presidential campaign

After first announcing the formation of an exploratory committee in late 2006, Thompson announced his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election on April 1, 2007.[7]

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.[8] 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 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 then endorsed Senator John McCain after Giuliani's withdrawal from the presidential race.[9] However, in a New York Times article published October 11, 2008, Thompson is quoted in response to a question regarding whether he was happy with McCain's campaign as saying, "No. I don't know who is."[10]

2010 Governor's race

Thompson announced on April 30, 2009 that he is considering a run for Governor of Wisconsin as a Republican in 2010 against the current governor, Democrat Jim Doyle.[11] This was just two days after Republican Scott Walker announced his run. [12] Another Republican former Congressman, Mark Neumann, has also announced he will run. The incumbent, Democrat Jim Doyle, announced in August 2009 that he would not seek re-election for a third term.

2010 Senate race

It has been rumored that Thompson is also considering a run for the United States Senate seat currently held by Russ Feingold. A poll by Rasmussen Reports shows Thompson leading 47% to 43% over the Democratic Senator.[1]

Private-sector career

Thompson is the President of Logistics Health Incorporated. He is senior partner at Akin Gump, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and is a senior adviser at the consulting firm Deloitte and the chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.[13] Thompson taught a class in the fall of 2005 at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on medical diplomacy.[14]

Shortly after leaving his Bush Cabinet post, Thompson joined and served for two years on the board of directors of Applied Digital Solutions, makers of the controversial VeriChip: a glass-encapsulated RFID chip that can be injected into human flesh for various database-driven identification purposes.

Thompson currently serves on the board of Directors for Pure Bioscience Inc. (PURE.OB) and serves on the Board of Trustees of the non-profit, Medical Missions for Children and is the co-host for their television series, Plain Talk About Health.[15]

Thompson serves as a Senior Advisor of Capital Partners of McKinley Reserve[16], a Wisconsin corporation with ties to both Hilbert, Wisconsin and Dubai.[17][18]


Medicare controversies

After leaving office, Thompson promoted changes to Medicare that some complained would benefit companies Thompson has a financial stake in (including Centene and the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions).[19]

Additionally, while in office, Thompson was involved in a dispute over whether the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had to share cost estimates to Congress for legislation that would create a prescription drug benefit. Critics accused HHS of downplaying the true cost of the law by $150 billion. CMS Administrator Tom Scully threatened to fire the actuary if he revealed to Congress his estimate. Investigators determined that the data was improperly hidden from Congress, but did not conclude whether laws had been broken.[20]

Treatment of Ojibwa spearfishers

Thompson, who had advocated abrogation of treaty fishing rights in his 1986 campaign, asked Ojibwa spearfishers to sell their rights to spearfish in off-reservation lakes & streams, which is guaranteed by treaties with the United States, for $42 million dollars to the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and $10 million to the Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Thompson and anti-spearfishing organizations Protect Americans' Rights and Resources and Stop Treaty Abuse-Wisconsin tried unsuccessfully to challenge the 1983 "Voigt Decision" of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, a challenge rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States on October 3, 1983. Thompson claimed that Native Americans' lives were in danger from protesters associated with PARR and STA if they continued spearfishing. On May 5, 1989, federal judge Barbara Crabb refused the request and chastised the State for attempting to avoid violence by punishing the Ojibwa, who had broken no laws, since it was violence by non-Native American protestors that was threatening. Crabb issued an injunction against violent anti-spearfishing protests in 1991, and made it permanent in 1992. On May 20, 1991, the Thompson administration declared it would no longer attempt to appeal the 1983 Voight Decision.[21][22]

Statements about Jews, Israel

In April 2007, Thompson apologized for publicized remarks he made while speaking to an assembled crowd of Jewish social activists in Washington, D.C.[23] On April 18, 2007, appearing before a conference organized by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Thompson made reference to his lucrative transition from public service to the private sector by stating: "You know that's sort of part of the Jewish tradition and I do not find anything wrong with that."[24] After the conclusion of his address, Thompson was reportedly pulled aside privately by the RAC’s Rabbi David Saperstein, and then returned to the podium to issue a clarification,[25] adding: "I just want to clarify something because I didn't (by) any means want to infer or imply anything about Jews and finances and things. What I was referring to, ladies and gentlemen, is the accomplishments of the Jewish religion. You've been outstanding business people and I compliment you for that."[24]

Later, Thompson told Politico that his remarks could be blamed on fatigue and a persistent cold.[26]

Thompson made a variety of other lesser comments, including referring to the Anti Defamation League as the fringe Jewish Defense League, and to Israel bonds as "Jewish bonds".[27][28][29] He also discussed his connections to conservative Israeli and Jewish leaders with the mostly left-leaning activist group.[27]

Conference organizers avoided comment on the gaffes, instead praising Thompson's decision to appear before the group.[30]

Politicizing of science

In 2001, Nobel laureate physiologist Torsten Wiesel was nominated by Gerald Keusch (then an employee of HHS: director of the Fogarty International Center, the branch of the National Institutes of Health) for a position on an advisory panel in the National Institutes of Health to advise on assisting research in developing countries. Thompson, who at the time was Secretary of Health and Human Services, rejected Wiesel. Thompson's office rejected 19 of 26 nominations and in return sent résumés for other scientists that his employee Keusch described in an interview as "lightweights" with "no scientific credibility". When Weisel's name was rejected, an official in Thompson's office told Keusch that Wiesel had "signed too many full-page letters in The New York Times critical of President Bush." This incident was cited by the advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists as part of a report detailing their allegations of abuse of science under President George W. Bush's administration.[31][32]

Electoral history

Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election 1998
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tommy Thompson (incumbent) 1,047,716 59.66
Democratic Ed Garvey 679,553 38.70
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election 1994
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tommy Thompson (incumbent) 1,051,326 67.23
Democratic Chuck Chvala 482,850 30.88
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election 1990
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tommy Thompson (incumbent) 802,321 58.15
Democratic Thomas A. Loftus 576,280 41.77
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election 1986
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tommy Thompson 805,090 52.74
Democratic Tony Earl (incumbent) 705,578 46.22
Wisconsin Gubernatorial Election 1986 - Republican Primary
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tommy Thompson 156,875 52.11
Republican Jonathan Barry 67,114 22.30
Republican George Watts 58,424 19.41

See also: [33]


  1. ^ ""Tommy Thompson drops presidential bid"". Associated Press. 2007-08-12. Retrieved 2007-08-13. 
  2. ^ Ancestry of Tommy Thompson
  3. ^ Highlights at the Wisconsin Historical Society
  4. ^ ""Amtrak A. Vital Link in America's Transportation Future"". United States Department of Health and Human Services. 2001-11-01. Retrieved 2007-10-19. 
  5. ^ Pictures of P42 Genesis #182
  6. ^ Claytor award
  7. ^ ""GOP's Tommy Thompson Enters '08 Race"". American Broadcasting Company. 2007-04-01. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  8. ^ Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: JS Online: PoliticsWatch
  9. ^ John McCain 2008
  10. ^ "Concern in G.O.P. After Rough Week for McCain". New York Times. October 11, 2008. 
  11. ^ WISN Milwaukee Thompson Considers 2010 Run
  12. ^ Walters, Steve. Walker Announcement Expected April 28" Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  13. ^ Bio: Tommy Thompson, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions
  14. ^ Thompson, Tommy G. "The cure for tyranny" Boston Globe, October 24, 2005
  15. ^ Medical Missions for Children Board of Trustees
  16. ^ "McKinley Reserve website, Profile, People". Retrieved 2009-04-24. "Tommy G. Thompson ... is a Senior Advisor of Capital Partners." 
  17. ^ "McKinley Reserve website, Companies, Capital Partners". Retrieved 2009-04-24. "Capital Partners is headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates." 
  18. ^ "International Business Leader Charles Mulcahy Joins McKinley Reserve; Establishes Milwaukee Office to Grow Domestic and International Investment Portfolio.". 2005-12-12. Retrieved 2009-04-24. "The McKinley Reserve, as profiled on CNBC-TV, is best known for funding and co-managing Capital Partners FZ (CP) in Dubai..." 
  19. ^ Washington Post: Thompson's Medicaid Reforms Benefit His Employers
  20. ^ New York Times: Top Medicare Official Threatened Actuary
  21. ^ Wisconsin Historical Society: Wisconsin Historical Museum: Curators' Favorites "Anti-spearfishing Concrete Walleye Decoy"
  22. ^ Milwaukee Public Museum, "Spearfishing Controversy"
  23. ^ Jonathan Martin, T. Thompson Apologizes For Jewish Remark, Politico, April 17, 2007
  24. ^ a b Frederic J. Frommer, Thompson Apologizes for Comments, Washington Post (Associated Press), April 16, 2007
  25. ^ Tommy Thompson: “Earning Money” Is “Part of the Jewish Tradition”,, April 16, 2007
  26. ^ The Politico
  27. ^ a b Shmuel Rosner, Friendly advice to American candidates trying to woo the Jewish vote, Haaretz, April 17, 2007
  28. ^ Candidate: Making money part of Jewish tradition, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 16, 2007
  29. ^ Craig Gilbert, Thompson apologizes to Jews for comments, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, April 16, 2007
  30. ^ Shmuel Rosner, Republican presidential hopeful Thompson: Money-making part of Jewish tradition, Haaretz, April 16, 2007
  31. ^ Emma Marris (14 July 2004). "Bush accused of trying to foist favourites on health agency". Nature 430 (281): 281. doi:10.1038/430281a. 
  32. ^ Seth Shulman (2007). Undermining Science: Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration. University of California Press. 
  33. ^ Dave Leip

External links

Official sites
Documentaries, topic pages and databases
Media coverage
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Earl
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Scott McCallum
Preceded by
Howard Dean
Chairman of the National Governors Association
Succeeded by
Bob Miller
Preceded by
Donna Shalala
United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
Served under: George W. Bush

Succeeded by
Michael O. Leavitt


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Tommy George Thompson (born November 19, 1941) was the 19th U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin.


  • Jews have a tradition of making money.
  • Elections are won the year before.
  • George Bush has got to have a lot of credit for this because he had the courage to stand and say that we're going to hold that election. And it was held. And over 60% of the people showed up after being threatened with their lives and with their property. I think it was a fantastic victory.
    • On the elections held on 30 January 2005 in Iraq

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