Even Barack Obama, the poster child of community service, should be impressed with newly elected Rep. Glenn Thompson’s volunteer credentials. Thompson, a conservative representing Pennsylvania’s 5th District, has worked as a health care rehabilitation professional for 28 years, but he’s also been a volunteer firefighter, a Scout master, and a local school board member.
“My life has really been about public service,” Thompson said.
Thompson replaced Republican Rep. John Peterson, who retired after holding the seat for 12 years and chose to endorse Thompson in the primary. Serving in Congress wasn’t initially on the agenda for Thompson, whose work in the health-care industry made him frustrated with the layers of bureaucracy and opened the gates for his political career.
“Running for Congress … wasn’t on my ‘bucket’ list,” said Thompson, who is married and has three grown sons. “This is not something I probably would have pursued if any of my boys had been home. My wife and I are going to do this together.”
He’s looking forward, however, to serving his constituents, or his new “bosses,” as he calls them, and has focused on positioning himself and his staff in the best way possible to do so.
He has also been put on the House Agriculture and Small Business Committees, both important to a rural district like Thompson’s. He also hopes to be able to contribute his knowledge of health care and the health-care industry while in Congress.
Explore for Energy
Conservatives nationwide, not just voters of Pennsylvania’s 5th, should be excited about Thompson’s next two years in Congress. Thompson has said the life issue is very important to him, and his suggestion for an economic stimulus is to start exploring domestic energy resources. That issue has particular significance for his 5th district, since 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the ‘discovery’ of oil in — of all places — Pennsylvania 5, the home of the first successful commercial oil well. Also, because Thompson’s district is rural, his constituents spend a lot of time — and money — on commuting.
Thompson said he also wants to see a simplified tax code, among other tax reforms.
“Frankly, I’ve got some strong opinions on taxes,” Thompson said. He applied for a position on the coveted Ways and Means Committee but none were available so got the other committee assignments instead. He’s also joined the Republican Study Committee, the conservative caucus in the House and home of the “Drill, Baby, Drill” rebellion in Congress this summer. Thompson said he has been impressed with several of the ideas coming out of the RSC.
Thompson’s enthusiasm, his commitment to the sanctity of life, and his pro-American stance on energy independence should serve conservatives well in this Congress. In an administration in which community service will be “in,” Thompson shows how it can be done the conservative way: through genuine — not forced — involvement in one’s neighborhood. In his professional career, Thompson has worked with over 10,000 people dealing with potential life-altering or debilitating problems. Now that’s successful community service.
This article is fifth in a series of HUMAN EVENTS profiles featuring newly elected conservatives in the House of Representatives.