Jill Long Thompson

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Jill Long Thompson
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 (1952-07-15) July 15, 1952 (age 62)
Warsaw, Indiana
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Don Thompson
Residence Argos, Indiana
Profession Teacher
Religion United Methodist

Jill Lynette Long Thompson (born July 15, 1952) is an American politician and educator. She is the Chair and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration and a former Congresswoman from Indiana. The first person in her family to graduate from college, Long Thompson completed her undergraduate studies at Valparaiso University and a Ph.D. in Business at Indiana University. She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Dr. Long Thompson's 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.

Family Background and Education[edit]

Born in Warsaw, Indiana, Jill Long Thompson was raised on a family farm outside of Larwill, Indiana in Whitley County. Long Thompson 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 Thompson, then known as Jill 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 Dan 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 Dan Quayle. Long Thompson took a congratulatory phone call from the Vice President during a victory press conference, as reporters watched.

Long Thompson easily won re-election in 1990 and 1992 despite being a top target for defeat. She ran for re-election in 1994, but lost to Republican Mark Souder as one of many Democrats to lose a seat in Congress as part of a Republican sweep that brought the Republican Party into majority status for the first time since 1954. Polling showed Long Thompson remained personally popular, despite her defeat in that election.

As a Member of Congress, Long Thompson served on the Agriculture and Veterans' Affairs Committees, as well as on the Select Committee on Hunger. She also chaired the Congressional Rural Caucus. Long Thompson won recognition for her dedication to constituent services, working to keep manufacturing jobs in her Northeast Indiana congressional district. 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 with the start of the George W. Bush Administration. As Under Secretary, Long Thompson 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.

Long Thompson 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 millionaire Chris Chocola. In 2008, Long Thompson won a hotly contested primary for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Indiana, despite being outspent nearly 3-to-1 by her opponent. In winning, 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.


Dr. 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 the spring of 1995 she served as a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. From 2003-2007, she served as CEO and Senior Fellow at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy in Washington, DC.

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.


External links[edit]

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

Succeeded by
Mark E. Souder