• Tommy Thompson: A Reliable Conservative who ran in the 2008 presidential race until August 2007. He pulled out of the race after a last place showing in the Iowa Straw Poll.
  • Tommy Thompson is the father of welfare reform, creating the groundbreaking Wisconsin Works program in Wisconsin that became the model for national and international reforms.
  • Tommy Thompson created the first school choice program in the nation, giving thousands of Milwaukee students the choice of where they go to school – no matter where they live or how much money their parents make.
  • As Governor, Tommy Thompson cut taxes 91 times to save taxpayers $16.4 billion.
  • As Governor, Tommy Thompson used his veto pen more than 1,900 times to save taxpayers $287 million.
  • Governor Thompson’s policies helped create more than 742,000 jobs.
  • Governor Thompson signed a ban on partial-birth abortion.
  • Under Governor Thompson, the number of adoptions in Wisconsin increased by 22 percent, while the number of abortions decreased by 37 percent.
  • Governor Thompson appointed strict constructionist judges who do not legislate from the bench.
  • Governor Thompson introduced truth-in-sentencing to Wisconsin, eliminating the charade of parole and mandatory release programs.
  • Governor Thompson signed legislation that banned Wisconsin communities from passing anti-gun ordinances that are stricter than state law.
  • After 10 years of failed attempts, Tommy Thompson led the way in introducing private-sector competition to the government-run Medicare program as part of the new prescription drug benefit.
  • Tommy Thompson rebuilt an essentially non-existent bioterrorism defense capability in the Department of Health and Human Services – making federal, state and local governments better prepared to respond to an attack.


Leadership through healthEdit

After serving 14 years as Governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson became the 19th Secretary of Health and Human Services on February 2, 2001. He told Department employees his first day on the job that he planned an “aggressive agenda” in leading HHS.

In the next four years, Secretary Thompson led HHS forward in every area imaginable. By the time he left office in 2005, Medicare was providing more comprehensive care to more American seniors than ever before. The nation was spending more on medical research than at any time in history. HHS was better prepared than ever to respond to terrorist attacks or any other public health emergency. More community health centers were providing more and better care to more needy Americans than ever before. Preventive health was among the nation’s top health care priorities. Children’s immunization rates were at a record high. A record number of children were receiving health care. The United States emerged as the unquestioned leader in fighting HIV/AIDS around the world. And families in Afghanistan and Iraq have hope for a healthier future after decades of neglect under brutal regimes.

Among the highlights:

Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Secretary Thompson was the point man in ensuring the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act. Thanks to this historic legislation, America’s seniors and people living with disabilities for the first time have access to a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, as well as new preventive benefits that will ensure they are getting the care they need to prevent more serious illness down the road.

Public Health Preparedness. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks of October 2001, Secretary Thompson led the way in rebuilding the nation’s public health infrastructure. While there is still a long way to go, he oversaw the investment of $14.8 billion in our nation’s public health system to ensure we are better prepared than at any time in our nation’s history to respond to a bioterror or any other public health emergency.

AIDS. The United States today is the unquestioned leader in fighting HIV/AIDS around the world following billions of dollars in investments at home and abroad and a renewed emphasis on prevention, research and treatment. Secretary Thompson served as the Chairman of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and urged the Administration to significantly increase its investment in fighting the diseases in developing nations.

Patient Safety. Secretary Thompson launched the “Decade of Health Information Technology” and has worked tirelessly to encourage health care providers to bring their practices into the 21st century to reduce medical errors, save lives and save money.

Flu. The budget to fight flu includes a seven-fold increase in four years, including initiatives to stabilize demand, develop a new-generation vaccine and the purchase of antiviral medications to treat people who become ill. Additionally, in August 2004, Secretary Thompson unveiled the department's draft Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan. This plan outlines a coordinated national strategy to prepare for and respond to a flu pandemic. Though public health professionals for years talked about the need for such a plan, it took Secretary Thompson’s leadership to get it done.

Healthy Lifestyles. Secretary Thompson led the way in promoting healthy lifestyles at the national, state and local levels, as well as in workplaces around the country, by encouraging Americans to eat healthier, quit smoking and become more active.

Medical Research. HHS completed the doubling of the research budget at the National Institutes of Health, while working to develop next generation vaccines to fight the flu and bioterror agents, such as anthrax and smallpox.

Afghan Health. On Easter 2003, Secretary Thompson and Afghan health officials opened the improved and refurbished Rabia Balkhi Women's Hospital in Kabul as part of the administration's commitment to assist the people of Afghanistan, especially in the area of maternal and child health. After Secretary Thompson's trip to Afghanistan in October 2002, HHS worked with the Department of Defense to refurbish and provide training for staff at the hospital, which – after years of civil war and neglect – was in terrible condition, with no working plumbing, broken windows and equipment, and few drugs and supplies.



Iraq – Governor Thompson believes Iraq is a vital front in the War on Terror and that the debate over short-term military solutions and defunding of the troops’ mission is shortsighted and counterproductive. Instead, Governor Thompson believes that America should work to build an Iraq with strong economic and political infrastructures. Details on his proposal can be found here.

Defense and Foreign Policy – Governor Thompson believes the nation must recommit itself to rebuilding the American military because our armed forces must have the capacity to dominate any war or any conflict we must enter – all while having the capability to fight a multi-front war. Our military is simply stretched too thin to protect American interests overseas and at home in these dangerous times. At the same time, our foreign policy cannot be based solely on military might. We must reach out to the rest of the world, and a good place to start is with medical diplomacy. Governor Thompson’s initiative would take America’s great doctors and health professionals, along with our medicines and technology, to some of the most distraught places in the world, helping to comfort and nurse the poor to better health. By doing so, we can begin to heal some of the wounds with our global neighbors.

Health Care – Governor Thompson believes America must strengthen its health care system if it is to remain the best in the world. He would accomplish this by 1. moving the focus to preventive from curative care; 2. accelerating the adoption of health information technology to save money and lives; 3. placing the uninsured in state-by-state insurable pools, allowing private insurers to bid on their coverage; 4. strengthening the nation’s long-term care system that robs too many Americans of their life savings; and 5. strengthening the Medicare and Medicaid programs to ensure the programs are there in the future for the millions of Americans who depend on them. Details on his proposal can be found here.

Immigration – Governor Thompson opposes amnesty and believes that America must enforce its immigration policies to the fullest extent of the law. People who are found to be in the country illegally should be returned to their home countries and should have to wait at the end of the line, behind people who are seeking to enter the country or become citizens legally.

Abortion – Governor Thompson is pro-life and signed one of the nation’s first partial-birth abortion bans. Under Thompson, the number of adoptions in Wisconsin increased by 22 percent, while the number of abortions decreased by 37 percent. Just as he did in Wisconsin, Thompson would appoint strict constructionist judges who do not legislate from the bench.

Marriage – Governor Thompson believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He supports states’ rights in determining the definition of marriage and believes it should be done legislatively or by referendum.

Education – Governor Thompson, who started the nation’s first school choice program in Milwaukee, believes America must hold our schools to high standards from kindergarten through college while making sure all of our children have access to a world-class education, regardless of what neighborhood they live in or how much money their parents make. Governor Thompson believes Congress can make No Child Left Behind stronger, and do so without wavering on its core principles.

Second Amendment – Governor Thompson is a gun owner who signed legislation that banned Wisconsin communities from passing anti-gun ordinances that are stricter than state law.

Taxes and Spending – Governor Thompson cut taxes by $16.4 billion in Wisconsin and believes President Bush’s tax cuts must be permanent to allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money and to continue to build the economy. Governor Thompson also vetoed more than 1,900 items in 14 years in office, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Energy and the Environment – Governor Thompson believes America must become more independent in its energy needs and break reliance on foreign oil. We must begin with greater investments in renewable energy, like ethanol, so we can bring these technologies to market faster and more efficiently. And we must come together and deal with our changing climate.