Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Thompson for governor, part II

Tomah Mayor Ed Thompson said he doesn’t know the first thing about the state budget deficit. Actually, he said he doesn’t know much about being governor.

But then again, he said he didn’t know what it would take to be mayor of Tomah, but won that election by a landslide three years ago.

Thompson was a self-described apolitical supper-club owner until 1997, when his business was raided and the video poker machines confiscated. After the raid, 43 business owners were charged, but he was the only one taken to trial. He challenged what he called “the evils of power,” and when he didn’t go to jail, he ran for mayor.

Now, he’s running for governor. Challenging big names like incumbent Scott McCallum, County Executive Kathleen Falk and Rep. Tom Barrett, D-Wisc., Thompson advocates shrinking government, not accepting campaign contributions and eliminating bureaucracy.

Thompson shakes the hand of everyone he sees but often forgets to introduce himself. He says his grassroots campaign has little funding and is based on “just meeting people,” which has captured the interest of UW System students.

“A lot of kids are jumping onto my campaign,” he said. “I’m glad. I’m thankful.”

He said a large student population is attracted to his liberal stances on the legalization of marijuana and lowering the drinking age.

“I firmly believe that medicinal marijuana’s time has come,” he said. “Doctors advocate it, and doctors know better than any bureaucrat in Madison.”

He believes the drinking age should be lowered to allow any high-school graduate to consume.

“I am an advocate of lowering the drinking age,” Thompson said. “They don’t have any problems sending an 18-year-old to Afghanistan, so an 18-year-old should be able to act like an adult in other ways.”

Ed is the younger brother of former governor Tommy Thompson but said the two have never had comparable political views. Ed said he talks to Tommy, now U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, for several hours every week on the phone.

“As brothers, we are close, but politically, let’s just say we, um, aren’t close,” Ed said, giving justification for disliking his brother’s stance. “The career politician is not serving the public or the schools.”

Thompson laid out certain goals for his potential career as a politician, though. He said he never would have signed a budget like the one McCallum proposed for 2001-2003.

“The budget is the worst budget in the nation. How could you even sign a budget that bad?” Thompson wondered. “Obviously everyone is taking care of special interests first.”

Thompson said he would not know what funding to cut from the UW System.

“I honestly don’t know what is going on at the university level,” Thompson said. “But I support financial aid — obviously I do, because my children have all used it.”

Since he was elected in 2000, Thompson has reduced Tomah’s budget deficit by $4 million without increasing the property taxes.
Thompson said he doesn’t pretend to be an expert on state government but that wouldn’t prevent him from doing a good job.
“I’m not saying I have all the answers, but I know a lot of smart people who do,” he said. “I would just bring them in to work for me whether they are Democrat or Republican.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *