About the Ranking Member
Bennie G. Thompson is now serving his eleventh term as the Democratic Congressman from Mississippi’s Second District and fourth term on the Homeland Security Committee. The Second District stretches from Tunica in the north to Jefferson County in the south and all points in-between, creating a rare blend of agricultural economies and the hustle and bustle of city life.
Congressman Thompson has spent his entire adult life giving a voice to the voiceless. With 43 years of continuous public service, he is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. His reputation as a no-nonsense problem solver has earned him the trust of his constituents and the respect of his colleagues in Washington. In 2000, Congressman Thompson’s legislation creating the National Center for Minority Health and Health Care Disparities became law. Long considered a leading voice on civil rights, equal education and healthcare reform, Thompson has helped to make a real difference in the lives of his constituents. In 1975, he filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi’s historically black universities. With Thompson as lead plaintiff, the case was settled in 2004 for an unprecedented $503 million.
Drawing on his 27 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter in Hinds County, Congressman Thompson understands that our nation’s law enforcement and first responders are our first line of defense in times of emergency. With that in mind, he has constantly fought to ensure they are fully equipped with the resources and tools to effectively respond to any and all emergencies.
Congressman Thompson served on the Agriculture, Budget and Small Business Committees before assuming the top Democratic position on Homeland Security in 2005.
After successfully serving as Ranking Member for two years, his colleagues promoted Congressman Thompson to serve as the first ever Democratic Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which he served as for four years.
During his tenure as Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, despite jurisdictional challenges, the Committee bolstered resources and operational capacity within the Department of Homeland Security by authorizing TSA, the Coast Guard, and other critical components.
In his first act as Chairman, he introduced landmark security legislation implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, which was enacted into law and signed by President George Bush. Chairman Thompson also authored and championed many important pieces of legislation aimed at strengthening the security of our nation’s chemical facilities, cybersecurity posture, and our rail and mass transit systems.
Through the Committee’s monthly business opportunities newsletter and through legislation, Chairman Thompson assisted small, minority and disadvantaged businesses gain valuable information on contracting opportunities with the federal government.
Born in Bolton, he attended Hinds County public schools before earning degrees from Tougaloo College and Jackson State University. After serving as alderman and mayor in his hometown for 12 years, Thompson served as Hinds County Supervisor for 13 years before being elected to Congress in 1993.
With six district offices—Bolton, Greenville, Greenwood, Jackson, Marks and Mound Bayou—Congressman Thompson is committed to empowering those who gave him an opportunity to represent the Second Congressional District of Mississippi.
Congressman Thompson is a lifelong member of the Asbury United Methodist Church in Bolton Mississippi. He has been married to his college sweetheart, London Johnson of Mound Bayou, Mississippi, for 43 years. The couple has one daughter BendaLonne, one granddaughter, Jeanna and one grandson, Thomas Gordon.
The Congressman enjoys hunting, gardening, reading and music.