James R. Thompson is a relentless campaigner that served for fourteen years when he won an election in 1976. He was also known as Big Jim and is a well-known republican that used his enthusiasm to win campaigns.
Thompson had a canning understanding of politics, making him the longest-serving governor in the state of Illinois. He died at the age of 84 on Friday, and Samantha Thompson, his daughter, announced his death.
At the time of his death, Mr. Thompson was battling an unknown illness at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago. His heart then stopped.
Mr. Thompson’s political career
Republicans and Democrats on social media joined forces to mourn his death. They praised Mr. Thompson’s skills and abilities as a politician that enjoyed meeting with constituents. Mr. Thompson would march parade routes even when there was no election.
Mr. Thompson had a relentless style of campaigning that made it difficult for any opponent to beat him. For example, Democrats tried finding an opponent to beat Mr. Thompson, but they consistently failed. Mr. Thompson served the state of Illinois from 1977 to 1991.
Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, spoke on Mr. Thompson’s death praising him for his successful political career. Mr. Thompson and Mr. Durbin were good friends and political adversaries back in the day.
David Axelrod also went on social media to praise Mr. Thompson. According to Axelrod, Mr. Thompson was one of the most formidable and smartest people in politics he has ever met. Axelrod covered Mr. Thompson as a governor when he worked as a reporter.
In another statement, J.B. Pritzker, the Illinois governor, said that Mr. Thompson’s memory would live on as one of the titans in the history of state government.
James Robert Thompson biography
Mr. Thompson was born in 1936 on the west side of Chicago. His father, who Mr. Thompson was named after, was a morgue attended, and he was studying to become a doctor. Mr. Thompson’s mother was one Agnes Josephine Swanson that Thompson referred to in numerous interviews as a great mother and exceptional homemaker.
Mr. Thompson was married to his beloved wife, Jayne Carr Thompson, and they have one daughter. He also has a son in law and granddaughter named Anastasios Tomazos and Persephone respectively.
From a young age, Mr. Thompson was politically ambitious. His yearbook in high school read “Jim Thompson, Press of the United States 1984-1992.” Mr. Thompson was an attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and during his time as a lawyer, he prosecuted many political and prominent figures.
Mr. Thompson went on to win a two-year term in 1976, which was the largest margin in state history. He won the vote by 64%. Mr. Thomposn was one of the tallest governors alive, towering at six feet and six inches.
Many of his opponents were scared of him because he was always prepared. His team had an updated briefing list of any recent news in countries he had visited and the names of political figures in the local community, including their birthdays.
Mr. Thompson loved being a governor, and during parades, he would wear different local team jackets. He would also take a break to sip beer on people’s porches.
James Robert Thompson accomplishments
Mr. Thompson was responsible for the “Build Illinois” project that aimed at improving the state’s infrastructure. The project cost a total of $2.3 billion, and its goal was to clean up toxic sites, repair sewer lines, and expand highways. It also funded university and college building projects.
Mr. Thompson also created the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency to help save art in the state. Some of the pieces he was able to save with his agency were the Dana-Thomas House and the White Sox in Chicago. When Mr. Thompson left office, he returned to his law career, serving as a Chairman at Winston and Straw.