Bennie G. Thompson (born January 28, 1948) is an American politician from the Democratic Party. He has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the 2nd District of Mississippi (map) since 1993. The district includes most of Jackson and is the only majority-black district in the state. The district is approximately 275 miles long, 180 miles wide and borders the Mississippi River. The Mississippi Delta comprises the vast majority of the 2nd District.
Thompson is a native of Bolton and attended Hinds County public schools before earning degrees from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University. He served as an alderman, then mayor of that city before being elected to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.
Thompson joined the House of Representatives in April 1993, after winning a special election for the 2nd Congressional seat which became vacant when former Representative Mike Espy resigned. Thompson subsequently has been reelected several times overwhelmingly. Indeed, Thompson has 38 years of public service, ranking him as Mississippi's most senior African-American politician.
Thompson is currently the ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, a Congressional committee responsible for providing government oversight on terrorism and disaster relief agencies. As a former volunteer firefighter and local official, Thompson has focused the Committee on assuring that state and local officials, as well as first responders (fire, police, EMTs), have the resources they need to protect their communities.
Thompson became an outspoken advocate for the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit in 2005. From his position on the Homeland Security Committee, he pushed for accountability at FEMA and a careful review of the role of the Red Cross in the time of disaster. He also pursued waste, fraud, and abuse in hurricane contracting and called for preferences to be given to small and Gulf Coast businesses in the recovery and rebuilding of the affected states. Thompson is the founding Member of the bipartisan Gulf Coast Recovery & Rebuilding Caucus in the House of Representatives.
Thompson also belongs to the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Rural Caucus, Congressional Sunbelt Caucus,Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus, Congressional Travel & Tourism Caucus, and the Tennessee Valley Authority Caucus. He also is involved in the Congressional Children's Working Group and the National Guard & Reserve Componements Congressional Members Organization.
Thompson's legislative platform focuses mainly on civil rights, agriculture and rural issues, equal education and health care reform. In 1975, he became one of the original plaintiffs in the Ayers Case which concerned the adequate funding of predominantly black educational institutes in Mississippi. In 2000, Thompson wrote legislation that created the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities.
He is married to the former London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi and has one daughter, BendaLonne, one grand-daughter, Jeanna. and one grandson, Thomas. Thompson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a lifetime member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton. He is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman.
Thompson's campaign website is at http://www.benniegthompson.com
Thompson's official Congressional website is at http://benniethompson.house.gov/
The Committee on Homeland Security, Democratic Office, website is at http://hsc-democrats.house.gov