Tommy Thompson is a former longtime governor of Wisconsin. He is also a former United States secretary of health and human services. However, his last couple of attempts at seeking elective office hasn't gone so well.

Since 2020, Thompson has presided over the University of Wisconsin System. The system is one of the largest of its kind in the United States. His tenure as system president is nearing its end.

Mulling over another run for the governorship

Tommy Thompson doesn't seem quite ready to leave public service behind. In a recent interview, he discussed his possible plans for the future, which may even include him seeking another term as governor of Wisconsin.

The Beloit Daily News reported that another gubernatorial campaign for Thompson is "on the table."

A Republican, Thompson was first elected governor of Wisconsin in 1986, defeating Democratic incumbent Tony Earl. He was re-elected three times afterward. During his tenure as governor, he garnered a reputation for not being afraid to exercise his veto power. He was also appointed as a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors by Democratic U.S. President Bill Clinton, becoming its chairman along the way. In 1996, the Republican Presidential nominee considered Thompson as a potential vice president.

Lieutenant Governor Scott McCallum was elevated as the new governor of Wisconsin. But his best-known achievement as governor is the launch of the public healthcare coverage program BadgerCare.

The program was quickly hailed as a success. It'd be a key factor in Thompson being appointed as HHS secretary in the forming Bush administration in 2000. Though Thompson reportedly would have preferred to have been U.S. secretary of transportation. Thompson took office as the secretary in 2001, succeeding fellow Wisconsinite Donna Shalala.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

As HHS secretary, Thompson oversaw policies to strengthen U.S. defense against bioterrorism attacks. The most high-profile initiative undertaken during his tenure was likely the Medicare Modernization Act, which included the creation of Medicare Part D, a popular payment program for prescription drugs. Other acts included increasing spending for the National Institutes of Health and seeking to increase the efficiency of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Milwaukee Journal indicates that Thompson will decide to run in April. Democratic incumbent Governor Tony Evers is running for re-election. Former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch is running for the Republican nomination. Other Republicans who've been interested apparently include former White House Chief of Staff and party chairman Reince Priebus.

Lost his most recent statewide election

Thompson left the post of HHS secretary in 2005, opting to join the private sector. EPA Administrator and former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt was appointed as his successor. Thompson's private sector pursuits have included roles with the law firm Akin Gump and the professional services network Deloitte.

But Tommy Thompson didn't stay away from the public sector for long. He made a brief play for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination. It was ultimately won by Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain. McCain lost the general election to Democratic Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

In 2012, one of Wisconsin's U.S. Senate seats was up for election. Democrat Herb Kohl had long held the seat in question. At the time, Kohl was chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and the majority owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Kohl did not run for re-election.

Thompson was the Republican nominee for the seat that year. Democratic U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin won the Democratic nomination. In a closely contested campaign, Thompson accused Baldwin of failing her constituents.

Voters, however, disagreed, and Baldwin defeated Thompson in the general election.

Is a retired United States Army officer

Tommy Thompson received a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, followed by a law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army, ultimately obtaining the rank of captain.

Thompson was first elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1966. He had narrowly defeated incumbent Louis C. Romell in the Republican primary before winning the general election.

In 1979, Republican U.S. Representative William A. Steiger died of a heart attack. Steiger represented the 6th District of Wisconsin and notably employed future U.S.

Vice President Richard B. Cheney as an intern. Thompson sought the Republican nomination for the ensuing special election. Instead, it would go to State Senator and later general election winner Tom Petri. Steiger's son later worked under Thompson at the Department of Health and Human Services.

In 1981, Thompson became the minority leader of the Assembly. It came after his predecessor, John C. Shabaz, was appointed federal judge. Thompson held the role until becoming governor.

Tommy Thompson married Sue Mashak in 1968. They would go on to have three children. Tommy's brother, Ed, served as mayor and a common councilman of Tomah in west-central Wisconsin. In 2002, Ed was the Libertarian nominee for governor of Wisconsin.

Though unsuccessful, his was one of the most competitive third-party gubernatorial campaigns in modern American history. Democratic Attorney General Jim Doyle ultimately won the race. Ed Thompson died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.