At a Glance
- Career History: vintner; state senator (1990-1998); chief of staff to Assemblywoman Jacqueline Speier (D-Calif.) (1987-1990)
- Birthday: Jan. 24, 1951
- Hometown: Saint Helena, Calif.
- Alma Mater: California State University, Chico, BA, 1982; California State University, Chico, MA, 1996
- Spouse: Janet
- Religion: Roman Catholic
- Committees: Intelligence, Ways and Means
- DC Office: 231 Cannon House Office BuildingPhone: 202-225-3311
- District Office: Napa, 707-226-9898; Eureka, 707-269-9595; Fort Bragg, 707-962-0933; Woodland, 530-662-5272
- Web site
Path to Power
Thompson was born in 1951 in St. Helena Hospital in the Napa Valley, the same hospital where his parents were born. He says he's a descendant of one of the Californians who took part in the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt, which led to independence from Mexico.
Thompson dropped out of St. Helena High School and joined the Army. He served as a staff sergeant and platoon leader in the 173rd Airborne Regiment from 1969 to 1972, which was stationed in the II Corps zone in South Vietnam. Thompson received a Purple Heart for wounds he received during the war. When he returned to California, Thompson found a job fixing equipment for Beringer Vineyards. He and a partner developed a vineyard from a 10-acre plot formerly owned by Beringer, then sold it. Thompson used his share of the proceeds to pay for his bachelor's degree from California State University-Chico, from which he graduated in 1982.
During the 110th Congress, Thompson voted with his party 96.5 percent of the time. Thompson is a member of the Blue Dog Democrats.
Thompson voted against the compromise 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update, claiming the bill ceded too many civil liberties.
Thompson's closest political ally is Pelosi, a fellow Californian who selected him for the Ways and Means committee in 2005.
In January 2008, Thompson endorsed Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, but switched his endorsement to Obama hours after Clinton suspended her campaign in June 2008.