What do you believe?

From 1987 to 2001, Tommy Thompson served as the 42nd Governor of Wisconsin, having been elected to an unprecedented four terms. Thompson's initiatives during his 13 years as governor of Wisconsin included his Wisconsin Works welfare reform program and school choice program, which allowed low-income Milwaukee families to send children to the private or public school of their choice at taxpayer expense. He also 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 was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services by President George W. H. Bush in 2001, a position he would hold for four years. Thompson began his career in public service in 1966 as a representative in Wisconsin's state Assembly. He was elected assistant Assembly minority leader in 1973 and Assembly minority leader in 1981. Thompson has received numerous awards for his public service, including the Anti-Defamation League's Distinguished Public Service Award. In 1997, he received Governing Magazine's Public Official of the Year Award, and the Horatio Alger Award in 1998. Thompson has also served as chairman of the National Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States and the Midwestern Governors' Conference. Thompson also served in the Wisconsin National Guard and the Army Reserve. Currently, he is an independent senior advisor of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.
  • Transcript


Question: Do you have a personal philosophy?

Tommy Thompson: Sure. It is doing good, and doing as little harm as possible. But looking at the overall good and finding ways in which you can make things better. I’m driven by . . . by results. I’m driven by ideas. And you know I think that is what is failing in American politics right now. Because right now we have . . . I’m a builder, and right now we have people who want to tear down. Democrats hate Republicans; Republicans hate Democrats; everybody hates the Independents. And nobody wants to cross over and say, you know, “Who cares who gets the results? Who cares who gets the credit? Let’s get the results, and let’s change the system for the better.” And that’s what drives me. I wanna . . . I wanna make the system stronger, be more healthy, and make things better tomorrow than they are today. And that’s what I think should drive every person that puts his name or her name on the ballot. They should be smitten with the passion to make things better for the people that elect them.

Recorded on: 7/6/07