James R. Thompson (Republican) was first elected Governor
in 1976 by a record 1.39 million votes, with 65 percent of the vote. He was
re-elected in 1978 by 596,550 votes, a record for an incumbent, and he won an
unprecedented third term to office in 1982.
Following his first election to office, Thompson has balanced the state budget
each year, cut the size of government, trimmed welfare roles, maintained and
improved human services, won legislative approval of sweeping reforms in the
state's criminal sentencing laws and began a program that so far has provided
more than $1 billion in tax relief.
In his second term, his accomplishments included: no general tax
increases, holding state spending growth to a rate below inflation and
stabilizing the size of state government's work force; keeping the state's high
bond rating intact; bringing together business and labor to solve a number of
important issues facing the state, such as the replacement of the outlawed
corporate personal property tax, reform of the unemployment insurance system,
settlement of the Chicago school system financial crisis, and successful
mediation of a Chicago construction strike; making Illinois a leader in securing
federal transportation funds; implementing more than $300 million in financial
benefits to the state as recommended by the Governor's Cost Control Task Force;
building more prisons in Illinois to take violent criminals off the streets;
establishing first state-funded, in-home care program in the nation for the
elderly; and increasing the state's response to cases of child abuse by using a
computerized system to identify possible child abuse cases before they occur.
In his third term, Thompson faced the problems of recession in Illinois by
gaining approval of a plan that continued vital states services, such as funding
for education, care for elderly and abused, treatment for the disabled and
Born May 8, 1936, Jim Thompson, the eldest of four children of Dr. J.
Robert and Agnes Thompson, was raised on the west side of Chicago.
On June 19, 1976, Thompson married Jayne Ann Carr of Oak Park. Mrs. Thompson is
an attorney with a Chicago law firm, and was formerly Deputy Chief of the
Criminal Division, Illinois Attorney General's Office. They have one daughter,
Samantha Jayne, born August 3, 1978.
Following undergraduate training at the University of Illinois and
Washington University, he entered Northwestern University Law School, where he
was awarded his law degree in 1959.
From 1959 to 1964, he served as a prosecutor in the Cook County State's
Attorney's Office. In 1964, he joined the faculty of Northwestern University Law
School as an Associate Professor. From 1969 to 1970, he was Chief of the
Department of Law Enforcement and Public Protection, Illnois Attorney General's
Office. From 1970 to 1971, he served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney and was
appointed U. S. Attorney for the Northern District on November 29, 1971, and
served until June 30, 1975.
Thompson has been the recipient of numerous civic awards and has
co-authored several books on criminal law. He served as chairman,
Midwestern Governors Conference in 1981; co-chairman, Attorney General's Task
Force on Violent Crime in 1981; chairman, Republican Governors Association in
1982; and chairman, National Governor's Association in 1983-4.
/Source: Illinois Blue Book 1985-6. /
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