Benny Thompson has spent his entire life giving a voice to the voiceless. The Congressman’s lifelong public service record is a testament to his unwavering dedication to fulfil and exceed the expectations of the constituents of the Second Congressional District of Mississippi. A native of rural Bolton, Mississippi, Thompson has always been aware of the realities that plague the South. Viewing the experiences his family endured first hand became the catalyst for his passion for those who were oftentimes underserved.
Congressman Thompson is a product of the Hinds County School District. After graduation, he earned a Bachelor of Science from Tougaloo College and a Master of Science from Jackson State University. While pursuing his education, Thompson began to cultivate his passion for grassroots political activism. A product of the Civil Rights movement, Thompson joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and helped to organize voter registration drives for African-Americans in the Mississippi Delta. After graduating from college, Thompson followed in the footsteps of his mother and worked as a schoolteacher. It was during this time that he began to aggressively pursue a career in politics.
Thompson served as alderman from 1968 to 1972, and went on to serve as mayor from 1973 to 1980, both in his hometown of Bolton. As mayor and founding member and President of the Mississippi Association of Black Mayors, he initiated policies and provided services that benefited the underserved citizens of his hometown. In his capacity as mayor, Thompson made improved the water and sewer systems, paved streets, renovated dilapidated houses, spearheaded the construction of city hall, and re-evaluated the town’s real estate to reflect accurate values.
From 1980 to 1993, Thompson served as a Hinds County Supervisor and was the founding member and President of the state’s Association of Black Supervisors. Thompson’s reputation for being a pragmatic local public servant afforded him an opportunity to be the vocal champion for his constituents. Thompson’s years of dedication and service to those constituents lead them to elect him to Congress in 1993 to represent the Second District of Mississippi.
Congressman Thompson has served the Second Congressional District since 1993. He is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. He is also the only Democrat in the Mississippi Congressional Delegation. Thompson’s stellar voting record is indicative of his determination to be an activist for reform. In 2000, Thompson authored legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities, which subsequently became law. Thompson also received a Presidential appointment to serve on the National Council on Health Planning and Development.
In August 2005, the state of Mississippi was severely damaged by the natural disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Congressman Thompson aggressively advocated for disaster relief improvements within government agencies, and provided oversight to ensure that federal funds were properly allocated for Gulf Coast recovery.
In 2006, during the 109th Congress, Thompson’s Washington colleagues expressed their overwhelming confidence in his abilities, and selected him to serve as the first Democratic Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. As Chairman, Congressman Thompson introduced and engineered House passage of the most comprehensive homeland security package since September 11, 2001 - H.R. 1, the
“9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007.”
Congressman Thompson has served on the Agriculture, Budget and Small Business Committees. Each day, Congressman Thompson works to level the playing field. Thompson employs a progressive, yet realistic, approach to overcome the disparities and be the unabashed champion for civil rights, equal education, and healthcare reform for Mississippi.
Congressman Thompson is a lifelong member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton, Mississippi. He married his college sweetheart, London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi in 1968, they remain happily married to this day. The couple has one daughter BendaLonne, one granddaughter, Jeanna, and one grandson, Thomas Gordon. Congressman Thompson is an avid outdoorsman. He also enjoys gardening, reading, and listening to blues music.