The Contenders: Tommy Thompson
posted by February 14 at 15:38 PMon
Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s
apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.
Status: Has Exploratory Committee
Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson is one of many potential presidential candidates talking about the necessity of universal health care. “The truth is we are too darn fat in America. I am on the Tommy Thompson diet – I eat half what I am offered.” He also believes that the U.S. health care system will collapse by the year 2013, if it isn’t drastically overhauled.
Thompson grew up in small town Wisconsin where his father ran a gas station and a country grocery store. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Thompson’s first brush with politics came in 1966 when he served as a representative in Wisconsin’s State Assembly. In 1981 he was elected Assembly minority leader and, in 1987 ran a successful campaign for State Governor. Thompson was easily re-elected to serve four consecutive terms as Governor of Wisconsin where he is remembered for his tax rebates, welfare reform, and school choice program. Thompson also instituted a program to extend health care to low-income, elderly, and disabled citizens who did not qualify for Medicaid.
In 2000, Thompson left the office of the Governor when he was appointed by Bush to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. As secretary he helped to enact a law limiting funding for embryonic stem cell research and helped to pass the Bush Administration’s Medicare Modernization act.
After the 2004 election, Thompson, along with many other prominent cabinet members, resigned from his position. In his farewell speech, Thompson warned that the world faces a potentially catastrophic flu pandemic and that the U.S. food supply is vulnerable to terrorists: “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do.”
In the private sector, Thompson became a board member of Applied Digital Solutions, makers of the VeriChip: a human-implantable Radio Frequency Identification chip used to store medical records and other information. Thompson spoke publicly about his support for the RFID identification devices, and pledged to get one implanted into his own arm. However, according to a company spokesman, Thompson has been “too busy” for the “chipping” procedure.
Thompson is pro-life and has supported a ban on partial birth abortion. He believes felons should not have the possibility of parole and wants more federal funding given to the Drug War. Thomspon instituted a state-wide charter school system in Wisconsin. He is also a big supporter of ethanol. Although he publicly supported Bush’s war policies until last year, Thompson now proclaims the best plan for Iraq would be to divide it into a confederation of different Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni states.
Thompson has three children (Tommi, Kelli and Jason), with his wife Sue Ann. He is also a longtime Harley-Davidson motorcycle rider. Thomspon led motorcycle tours while Governor of Wisconsin, has been inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle hall of fame, and is a member of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.). Here he is on his bike:
Posted by Eli’s Intern: Sage Van Wing
Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback, Christopher J. Dodd, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Huckabee, Tom Vilsack, Joe Biden, and Duncan Hunter.