|Member of the New York State Senate
from the 60th district
January 3, 2007 – January 2, 2011
|Preceded by||Marc Coppola|
|Succeeded by||Mark Grisanti|
|Member of the Buffalo Common Council from the Masten District|
January 4, 2001 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Byron Brown|
|Succeeded by||Demone Smith|
March 1, 1970 |
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Merle Thompson; 2 children|
|Residence||Buffalo, New York, U.S.|
|Alma mater||State University of New York at Brockport|
|Committees||Democratic Senate Campaign Committee; Senate Environmental Conservation Committee; Finance; Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business; Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development and Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committees.|
Antoine Maurice Thompson (born March 1, 1970) was a Democratic New York State Senator who represented the state's 60th Senate district, which includes parts of Buffalo and Tonawanda, the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Grand Island. Thompson previously served for six years as the Masten District councilman in the Buffalo Common Council. Thompson has been a lifelong Buffalonian and held political and politically related professional positions in Buffalo before his service in elective politics.
Thompson was appointed to the city council in 2001 and was twice re-elected. He was discouraged from pursuing his interest in election to the United States House of Representatives in 2005. He was encouraged to pursue a New York Senate Seat, but was not nominated by the Democratic Party when the seat first became available in a special election. However, during the 2006 general election for the seat, he was victorious. Thompson was challenged in the 2008 primary by the current holder of the seat but was victorious and was unchallenged in the November election. In 2010 Thompson won a 3-way primary battle but lost to Mark Grisanti, a Democrat who ran as a Republican. After the election Grisanti became a Republican.
Born in Buffalo, New York, Thompson is a 1994 graduate of State University of New York at Brockport where he received a bachelor of science in history. He was raised in Buffalo and was a graduate of public schools #60, #61 and Bennett High School.
He is the son of Richard Allen Thompson and Wanda Strong Thompson, the husband of Merle Thompson, and the father of Deja LaShay and Joseph Antoine Alexander Thompson. In high school, he served as captain of both the cross-country and track & field teams and earned All-Western New York Honors in both. Thompson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Starting in 1996, he served two years as a legislative assistant to the Buffalo Common Council. In early 1998, he was named executive director of the Office of Urban Initiatives, which is a community development corporation that endeavors to improve business opportunities for minorities. After then-City Councilman Byron Brown was elected to the New York State Senate in November 2000, Thompson was favored for an appointment as Brown's city council successor.
Thompson was sworn in as the Masten District City Councilman on January 4, 2001 after being appointed by the Democratic Committee. His east side district included 27% of Buffalo's African American population. The Buffalo City Council had a brief African-American majority during Thompson's appointed half term that ended following the subsequent elections in September and November 2001. After African-Americans lost their majority the council voted along racial lines by a 7–6 margin to shrink the common council from thirteen to nine members by eliminating the four at-large positions (three of which were held by African-Americans). The city voters endorsed the proposal by a 35,849–19,036 margin which largely went along racial lines. Thompson retained his council position in the 2001, 2003 and 2005 elections. Thompson served as a John Edwards delegate at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
As a councilman, Thompson fought against crime and economic malaise in his district. He attempted to foster economic development and encourage support of worker training. Buffalo's East Side, which included his district, was a hub for employment activity that lured suburban residents. Thompson also engaged in urban planning to restore public parks. As a city councilman, he co-sponsored a resolution with David Franczyk against continued military involvement in the Iraq War.
In 2005, Thompson began testing the waters for higher office. He raised campaign funds and consulted party leaders about the possibility of challenging United States House of Representatives then 76-year-old congresswoman Louise Slaughter who was already a 10-term veteran. Slaughter's New York's 28th congressional district was 29 percent African American, and minorities comprised nearly 40 percent of the Democratic primary vote. Charles B. Rangel warned that Slaughter had strong ties to the Congressional Black Caucus as well as strong support from labor, women's and pro-choice groups.
Thompson was encouraged to pursue Brown's New York State Senate seat that was to be filled by special election on February 28, 2006 after Brown ascended to be the Mayor of Buffalo on January 1, 2006 following the 2005 election. The district has a 4–1 ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans. In 2006, the Erie County Democratic Party chairman was Leonard Lenihan, and he noted that Thompson had not been timely in entering the special election process. The Erie and Niagara County Democratic committees bypassed Thompson as their nominee in favor of Marc Coppola despite Brown's backing.
Thompson had issued a threat that without backing for the State Senate seat, he would challenge Slaughter in the September primary election, but Lenihan was unimpressed with the threat and noted that Thompson needed to take a "Dale Carnegie course in terms of how to win friends and influence people".
Brown and Lenihan were at odds over various political positions after Lenihan played a major role in Brown's election to the office of Mayor. Brown supported Andrew Cuomo for New York Attorney General, David Paterson for Lieutenant Governor of New York and Thompson for 60th District New York Senator. Lenihan disagreed with each of these choices. Brown claimed a perceived racial slight but Lenihan pointed out that neither Anthony Masiello nor James D. Griffin was granted the right to pick their successor.
Thompson subsequently decided to run for the New York Senate seat in the November general election. Marc Coppola won the special election by a 56–44% margin in a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 6:1. Thompson opposed incumbent Senator Marc Coppola as well as his cousin Former State Sen. Al Coppola in the September 2006 Democratic Primary for a full two-year term in the Senate. Thompson defeated both with 53% of the vote. He then defeated Marc Coppola again in the General election where Coppola ran as an Independent.
Thompson assumed office in a Upstate New York district. When Thompson took office in January 2007, he, along with Diane Savino and Jeffrey Klein (both of whom later defected from the Democrats to form the core of the Independent Democratic Conference), assumed the chairmanship of the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee by assuming control of Democratic campaigns development. He retained this position through the 2008 general election.
Thompson was the Chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee. He was the former Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Cities Committee, which oversaw all legislation impacting the state's 62 incorporated cities and urban policy. This position was held by his two immediate predecessors in the Senate, Byron Brown and Marc Coppola. Thompson served on the Finance; Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business; Tourism, Recreation and Sports Development and Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs committees.
When Thompson assumed office, he continued his fight against economic blight with economic revitalization plans, with special focus on redevelopment of brownfield land, but he had to combat government inaction and bureaucracy in this effort.
Thompson had been allied with NY City developer Howard Milstein. In 2010 Thompson arranged for a $400,000 grant from NY State's Economic Development Program for the Manhattan billionaire's Niagara Falls Redevelopment company to demolish properties in NiagaraFalls, NY. Thompson was a vocal spokesman against the May 2007 bill to raise State Senator salaries because the lack of raises for Buffalo city workers made it seem wrong to him. After refusing to comment on the issue for some time, Thompson was one of eight Democratic defectors on Eliot Spitzer's unpopular policy allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses. Thompson was one of eleven New York State Senators to be uncontested in the November 2008 general election. He supported the streamlining of minority- and woman-owned business certification. He opposes fracking
Thompson voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation on December 2, 2009, but the bill was defeated.
He won the Democratic Party nomination in the September 14, 2010 primary election. After a lengthy recount Thompson lost the general election to Mark Grisanti. Days before the election Thompson was named in a pay to play scandal where he received $8600 from Aqueduct Entertainment Group (AEG), who was attempting to secure a lucrative state contract to operate a video slot machine casino at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York.
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- "East Side Story — Signs of Economic Life Stirring In A Troubled Part of the City". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. 2002-03-26. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- "Too Good To Lose — Program To Train Minority Workers In Building Trades Ought To Be Saved". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. 2003-11-09. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
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- Theodore, Larissa (2001-07-26). "Plan To Restore King Park Wading Pool Detailed". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- "At Last, Splash — In Martin Luther King Park, Signs of Summer and Community Will". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. 2004-06-21. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
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- McCarthy, Robert J. (2006-01-13). "Brown, Lenihan at odds over Albany successor — Thompson, Coppola may vie in primary". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
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- Watson, Stephen T. and Jay Rey (2006-11-08). "WNY voters return incumbents to State Legislature - In Assembly, Cole tops Monte, Hayes defeats Grelick Thompson wins State Senate seat". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2009-01-02.
- Confessore, Nicholas (2007-10-23). "Why Some Democrats Defected on Spitzer Driver's License Plan". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
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- Confessore, Nicholas (2008-10-19). "For Once, Western New York Is the Front Line of State Politics". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 23 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
- Thompson, Antoine (2007-05-26). "New initiatives could bolster upstate economy". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Fischer, Nancy A. (2007-12-02). "Taking a turn for the better — Weed and Seed helps transform Highland Ave. area". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Heaney, James (2008-04-13). "A meeting of 'green' minds — Summit addresses environmental, economic needs". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Anderson, Judith and Mathy Stanislaus (2007-10-27). "Governmental inaction blocks use of brownfields law". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Gee, Denise Jewell. "Falls leery of state grant for developer". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on 8 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- Hakim, Danny (2007-05-07). "Not Reading the Fine Print". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
- Precious, Tom (2007-10-04). "Driver's licenses for illegals a tough sell — Members of his own party oppose Spitzer proposal as 'misguided'". The Buffalo News. Newsbank. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
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- "Thompson Offers Responsible Hydro-Fracking Legislation". 2010-08-04. Retrieved 2010-11-02.
- "Majority Support Evaded State Senate's Gay Marriage Bill". NY1 News. December 2, 2009. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
- Karen DeWitt (2010-11-10). "Control of New York Senate Still Unresolved". WNYC. Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-13.
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- Hakim, Danny (2010-11-15). "Key New York Races Remain Undecided". The New York Times. p. A22. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
- McCarthy, Robert J. and Tom Precious (2010-12-01). "At long last, Grisanti is winner with historic flair: Senate seat now his in a stunning upset". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
- Borsa, John (2010-10-22). "Thompson Holds News Conference on 'Pay to Play' Allegations". WKBW. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
- New York State Senate: Antoine M. Thompson "This Senator is currently inactive, and this content is provided to you as an archive."
|Buffalo, New York Masten District Councilman
|Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation
|New York State Senate|
|New York State Senate, 60th District