At a Glance
- Career History: Hinds County Board of Supervisors (1980-1993); Mayor of Bolton (1971-1979); Bolton alderman (1969-1972)
- Birthday: Jan. 28, 1948
- Hometown: Bolton, Miss.
- Alma Mater: Tougaloo College, B.A. in political science, 1968; Jackson State University, master's in education administration, 1972
- Spouse: London
- Religion: Methodist
- Committees: Ranking member, House Homeland Security Committee (since January 2011)
- DC Office: 2432 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC, 20519, (202) 225-5876
- District Offices: Bolton (601) 866-9003; Greenville (662) 335-9003; Greenwood (662) 455-9003; Jackson (601) 946-9003; Marks (662) 326-9003; Mound Bayou (662) 741-9003
Path to Power
Thompson was born in 1948 in the town of Bolton, Miss. After graduating from nearby Tougaloo College in Thompson's native Hinds County, he was elected as a Bolton alderman in 1969, the first year African-Americans had the right to vote in the tiny Jackson suburb thanks to an appeals court ruling.
Four years later, Thompson overcame more legal challenges and was elected Bolton's first black mayor. Police officers immediately quit on him and the county stripped the town of its garbage truck. As mayor, Thompson had to build up various services and infrastructure from scratch, a fact that led Thompson to say, "We have shown that black elected officials can bring a community from virtual obscurity into the 20th century."
Thompson has garnered a more liberal reputation than his predecessor. During the 110th Congress, Thompson voted with his party 97.6 percent of the time.
In 2000, the Mississippi Democrat wrote legislation that created the National Center for Health and Health Care Disparities. Thompson has focused on the issue of employment diversity, hiring more minority aides to the Homeland Security Committee and releasing a 2008 survey that criticized the lack of diversity in the Department of Homeland Security.
On Capitol Hill, Thompson is particularly close to fellow Congressional Black Caucus member and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who along with former Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala.), comprised the "three dudes."
Thompson's Secure PAC has donated money to several political campaigns since being established in 2005. Among the recent beneficiaries were disgraced former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) who Thompson stood by through his unsuccessful 2009 reelection bid.