Candidate Questionnaire: Bennie Thompson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Candidate Questionnaire: Bennie Thompson

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the only Democratic representative in Congress for Mississippi, has no primary election challengers, and no Republicans are running for his seat.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the only Democratic representative in Congress for Mississippi, has no primary election challengers, and no Republicans are running for his seat. Photo by Bennie Thompson

Fast Facts About Bennie Thompson

Election: Democratic District 2 Primary (No Challenger)

Age: 70

Family: Wife: London Johnson, Daughter: BendaLonne, Grand-Daughter: Jeanna, Grand-Son: Thomas

Place of Residence: Bolton, Mississippi

Education: Bachelors in Political Science from Tougaloo College and Masters in Educational Administration from Jackson State University

Work Experience: Hinds County Public Schools Teacher, Alderman, Mayor of Bolton, member of Hinds County Board of Supervisors and United States Congressman

Current Job: U.S. Representative of Mississippi’s Second Congressional District

The Jackson Free Press reached out to all candidates in the four Mississippi Congressional districts who are listed on a primary election ballot on June 5, regardless of whether they had a challenger or not. Each candidate received the same five-question questionnaire. We've published their responses in full below, with minimal edits for editorial/reader clarity only. The JFP did not copyedit or line-edit candidate responses. The views expressed by candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the JFP.

Why does your district (for senators, your state) need you right now?

Over the past 25 years, the people of the Second Congressional District have voted for me to represent them and advocate on their behalf. In this current political climate, my constituents need me to continue doing my job as their representative in Washington. Over the years, I have fought tirelessly for the people of my district and they deserve nothing less than a Congressman who places their concerns and issues as a priority within the objectives of the United States Congress. With recent proposals to cut funding to social safety net programs that are essential for the people of our district, in which a vast majority of my constituents rely on, they not only need but deserve an advocate who will work for their best interests. Being a product and current citizen of MS-02, I am aware of the disparities and issues within our district and will continue to fight to combat those issues for my people. One of which is the issue of healthcare. I want to ensure that the people in our district are afforded adequate resources to quality healthcare.

Provide one or two examples of when you have been an advocate for your district (or state) in your personal or professional life. What was the result?

During my 43 years in public service, I have dedicated my life to advocating for the people of the Second Congressional District. It would be far from the truth if I said it would be easy for me to compile that into only two examples. I would say that an early example of my advocacy was during my time as a student at Tougaloo College. I was an organizer of voter registration drives designed for registering citizens of the Mississippi Delta as voters, during a time of sweltering segregation and racism in our state. Being able to help and advocate for citizens to become registered voters, when for so long they had not been afforded that right, resonated and sparked an everlasting flame in me to be a voice for our district. Another example of my advocacy that stands out to me is when I authored legislation in 2000 that created the National Center for Minority Health Care Disparities, which subsequently became law. My work each and every day is a reflection of my love and dedication for Mississippi and everyone in MS-02. It is home.

In the past year or so, what was the most important vote taken for your district (or state)? How would you have voted and why? What is the most pressing issue for your district (or state)?

This year, the most important vote I took was on the Omnibus bill that ensured adequate funding for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals that are essential for residents of my district. I voted for the bill because as the poorest state in the nation, it is imperative that Mississippi has adequate funding for healthcare access for everyone in our state, especially those in MS-02.

If you could propose one piece of legislation that would greatly improve the quality of life for people your district (or state) what would it be?

If re-elected, I plan to craft legislation to put a stop to the high prescription drug cost. The people in our district cannot afford medications that are not covered with Medicaid and Medicare. I want to ensure that pharmaceutical companies are not taking advantage of the people in our district by price gauging.

If you are unsuccessful in winning your race, how specifically will you continue working on behalf of your district (or state)?

If unsuccessful, I will continue to do my part in the district and support my successor with initiatives that I started to ensure they are followed through. I would not hesitate to share my experiences and expertise in helping to overcome and combat the issues in our district. I will also work in a grassroots capacity in aiding residents throughout our district.

Read more 2018 election stories at jfp.ms/2018elections. The JFP is still taking candidate questionnaires. Don't see your candidate? Tell them to email their questionnaire to arielle@jacksonfreepress.com.

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