“You don’t have to check your principles and values in at the door; you just have to be willing to show up at the table and try to work on solutions to see what we can agree on,” he said.
Thompson, R-Howard Township, said he’s running on three platforms: service, leadership and statesmanship.
Service, he said, in terms of being present in all 16 counties when he is not in Washington; leadership, by leading caucuses and subcommittees in education, health care, agriculture and military service; and statesmanship in the way he approaches a situation in attempting to get the word “gridlock” out of people’s minds when they think of government.
“We’ve been able to break that and have been a part of breaking that with being a part of the technical education caucus,” Thompson said. “We just got $54 million — the first plus — in technology education funding for the first time in more than a decade.”
Thompson also works with “ No Labels” — a governmental organization that has been around for about a year.
“No Labels” is a bipartisan group of members of Congress from the House and Senate who have committed to meet on a regular basis to build trust and find common ground on a range of policy issues.
Additionally, he said with a new year, come new goals — the first being job creation and sustainability, and working with the unemployed and underemployed.
“The underemployment in Centre County is significant. People are working two and three jobs, and it’s tough to get ahead doing that,” Thompson said. “Centre County has low unemployment, but high underemployment. I always brag about Centre County. In 67 counties we’re always the lowest in unemployment, but the (median) salary of income is not real high. It’s because people are employed in part-time jobs so they don’t go on the unemployment list.”
Thompson said he wants to be part of limiting the burden of job creators, making sure the workforce is qualified and trained, taking advantage of local resources like Penn State and creating affordable energy.
“We have to take fear and caution away from them, and restore confidence that this is a great place to create a business,” Thompson said. “Part of that is working with all levels of government.”
Thompson also said he aims to be fiscally responsible, working with both parties to balance the budget and work ahead of time on Medicare and Social Security.
“Medicare is good until about 2021 and Social Security is good until about 2035. It’s not that far away,” Thompson said. ‘We need to take care to fix and save those, and looking into energy security. We need to take actions to make use of domestic resources in a responsible way so we can shut off the valve to the Middle East. We benefit from it greatly here in Pennsylvania because it also creates jobs.”
Centre County Democratic Committee Chairman Greg Stewart said as of Tuesday night, Thomas Tarantella is the only announced Democratic candidate challenging Thompson, but there are others exploring a possible run.
Stewart released no additional details of the possible candidates.
“We are planning several events during the petition signing period to assist candidates obtain the signatures to be placed on the ballot and then we help distribute candidate information to Democratic voters prior to the primary in May,” Stewart said in an email.
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.