Jill Long Thompson

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Jill Long Thompson
LongThompson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
In office
March 28, 1989 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Dan Coats
Succeeded by Mark Souder
Personal details
Born Jill Lynette Long
(1952-07-15) July 15, 1952 (age 62)
Warsaw, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Don Thompson
Residence Marshall County, Indiana, U.S.
Profession Teacher
Religion United Methodist

Jill Long Thompson (born July 15, 1952) is an American politician and educator. A former Congresswoman from Indiana, she most recently served as the Board Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration, completing her tenure there on March 12, 2015. The first person in her family to graduate from college, she earned a B.S. Degree in Business Administration at Valparaiso University and went on to earn the M.B.A. and Ph.D. in Business at Indiana University. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Her political career began when she was elected to the City Council in Valparaiso in 1983. She was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1989, representing a heavily Republican district for three terms. In 1995, President Bill Clinton nominated Long Thompson to serve as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development. In 2009, President Obama nominated her to serve on the Board of the Farm Credit Administration.[1]

Family Background and Education[edit]

Born in Warsaw, Indiana, Jill Lynette Long was raised on a family farm outside Larwill, Whitley County, Indiana. She graduated from Columbia City Joint High School in Columbia City. She earned an M.B.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1984) from Indiana University, and a B.S.(1974) in Business from Valparaiso University. She lives with her husband Don Thompson, a retired airline pilot, in Marshall County on a farm near Argos, Indiana.

Political career[edit]

Long Thompson began her political career in 1983 when at age 31, she launched a successful campaign to win a seat on the Valparaiso City Council, a post she held from 1984 through 1986. In 1986, she became the first woman in Indiana in either major party to win the nomination for U.S. Senate, a race she lost to incumbent Senator Dan Quayle.

In 1989, Long won an uphill race for Congress in a special election in Indiana's 4th Congressional District by defeating Republican Dan Heath. The seat had become vacant when Dan Coats was appointed to the Senate to replace Quayle who had won the Vice Presidency on the Republican ticket with George H.W. Bush. Long Thompson won despite skepticism about her chances from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and others in Washington. Her narrow election made national news because Indiana's 4th Congressional District was considered a safe Republican seat, once held by Quayle. Long took a congratulatory phone call from the Vice President during a victory press conference, as reporters watched. She easily won re-election in 1990 and 1992. She ran for re-election in 1994, but lost to Republican Mark Souder. As a Member of Congress, she served on the Agriculture and Veterans' Affairs Committees, as well as on the Select Committee on Hunger. She chaired the Congressional Rural Caucus. She was one of the first in Congress to propose a gift ban. She was also a National Vice Chair of the Democratic Leadership Council and a speaker at the 1992 Democratic National Convention in New York.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Long Thompson Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development, where she served until 2001. As Under Secretary, she managed 7,000 employees and a $10 billion budget, which funded rural housing, rural business, and rural utility programs. Among her accomplishments as Under Secretary were reforming the single-family loan programs, helping create thousands of jobs in economically challenged rural communities, and improving the efficiency of the Department. She attempted to return to the House in 2002 when she ran for the open congressional seat in the 2nd District, winning a contested primary, but narrowly losing in the general election to Chris Chocola.

In 2008, Long Thompson won a hotly contested primary for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Indiana. She became the first woman in Indiana history to be nominated for governor by a major party. She made reforming state government, accountability, and making larger investments in vocational education the focal points of her campaign. Long Thompson lost to incumbent Governor Mitch Daniels by 18% of the vote in a year in which Barack Obama was the first Democrat to win a Presidential race in Indiana since Lyndon Johnson.

Educator[edit]

Long Thompson taught in the College of Business at Valparaiso University from 1981 through the spring of 1986 when she entered the race for United States Senate. She has also taught there as a visiting professor and has taught at Indiana University and Manchester College. In 1995 she served as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 2003-07, she served as CEO and Senior Fellow at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy in Washington, D.C.

Farm Credit Administration[edit]

In October 2009, Long Thompson was nominated by President Barack Obama to the Farm Credit Administration Board, the independent agency that oversees the Farm Credit System. The nomination was pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate when President Obama installed Long Thompson on the Board by recess appointment on March 27, 2010. The Senate finally confirmed her in September 2010. On November 27, 2012, she assumed the role of Board Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration, with a term ending in May 2014.[1] She continued to serve at the Farm Credit Administration until March 12, 2015.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jill Long Thompson named Board Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration, fca.gov; accessed January 22, 2015.

Sources[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Dan Coats
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

1989–1995
Succeeded by
Mark E. Souder