What is your question?

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

TRANSCRIPT

Question: What is your question?

Tommy Thompson: I would ask America, “Why don’t you care more? Why don’t you care more about yourself personally?” Take care of yourself health-wise. You know, you only have one body. Why should you let your body get out of shape? You spend more time maintaining your car and your house. Why don’t you take care of yourself? And then, “Why don’t you take care of your family?” Why don’t you make sure that, you know, you do the best for your family? Be there for your wife or your husband. Be there for your children, and make sure your children know that they have to go into school; that they cannot really be the best they can be without an education. And then be involved in making sure that child gets that education. And then be involved with yourself and your business, your occupation, your profession. And if you don’t like what you’re doing, find another job. Make . . . make your life meaningful. Make your life, you know, be part of making yourself, your family, your community better. And that, it’s not tough. It’s not tough, but it’s common sense. And that’s what America’s gotta do. It’s gotta get back to basics. And you can’t be, you know, blaming the other guy. Every single one of us, it’s easy to blame somebody else. But the heavy lifting of good citizenship rests with each of us in our hearts, in our minds, and in our capabilities.

Recorded on: 7/6/07

 

 


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