State Representative John W. Thompson, D-Manchester, the assistant majority whip, has announced that he will retire from the legislature at the end of this year and not seek a 14th two-year term in the November election.
A former mayor of Manchester, Thompson was first elected to the legislature in 1986 and currently is a member of the Select Committee on Children and the Human Services and Appropriations committees.
“After many years in the legislature I decided it was time to have someone else take over the reins,” Thompson said. “This also gives me more time to pursue the issues that are dear to my heart.”
Thompson plans to continue advocating for children and access to health care for everyone. He also wants to remain active in local politics.
“While I’m leaving the legislature, I do want to continue to work on those issues that are important to me: community-based issues such as education and healthcare for those who do not have easy access,” he said.
Thompson’s colleagues in the legislature heaped praise on his dedication and many years of service.
“For 26 years, Jack Thompson’s passion has been how he could best serve the people of Manchester’s 13th District and on how he could make the lives of Connecticut residents better,” said House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden).
“He served admirably, with integrity, compassion and distinction. His commitment to health care for those less fortunate was unwavering. As a member of the Committee on Children and the Human Services Committee, he has made significant contributions to our state, working tirelessly with colleagues to improve the lives of children and families. He is a wise man of uncommon dignity, and he will be greatly missed,” Donovan said.
“Jack Thompson has been a powerful advocate for the people of his district and made many accomplishments as a champion for children,” House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said. “His contributions to the safety and well-being of children and families go beyond Manchester to all of Connecticut and will have a lasting impact far into the future.”
“It has been an extraordinary honor to represent the residents of Manchester over three decades and I thank them for the trust and support they have given to me,” Thompson said. “In my career as a legislator, we have deinstitutionalized mental health and programs for the developmentally disabled and moved them in a successful transition to community-based services.”
Thompson coordinated the Democratic response to welfare reform in the 1995-96 and 1997 sessions. He was also responsible in these sessions for the coordination of the House Democratic position on children’s issues, including the health care of children. He has continued on in a leadership role in welfare reform and children’s health issue. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of the HUSKY insurance for low income children and their families. Thompson also instrumented the establishment of the Poverty Council.
Thompson formerly served as the original chair of the Select Committee on Children. He also served as chair of the task force, which created the Connecticut Healthy Family program, now known as Nurturing Connecticut, which provides early intervention services to at-risk families to prevent child abuse and neglect. A companion program, Healthy Start, which provides early intervention to at-risk pregnant women, was significantly expanded as a result of action recommended by the human services sub-committee, which Thompson co-chaired with Sen. Edith Prague (D–Columbia).
In 1998 the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics presented to Thompson, the E. Maurice Wakeman Award in recognition of his “Commitment and dedicated service towards improving the lives of children and their families.” Also in 1998, Thompson received the “Connecticut Primary Care Association’s Annual Award for Commitment to Community Health.” In 1999 he was the first recipient of the “First For Kids Award,” an award made in honor of recently deceased Dr. Albert J. Solnit, former Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services by Connecticut Voices for Children. The award recognized Thompson’s leadership in improving mental health services for Connecticut’s children. In 2004 the National Association of Social Workers, Connecticut, honored Thompson as Legislator of the Year.
Representative Thompson has been previously honored by human service organizations including: The Phoebe Bennet Award by the Connecticut Association of Mental Health Clinics for Children: Outstanding Contributions To Mental Health Services For Children, Connecticut Association of Human Services: Legislative Leadership award for Welfare Reform and Children’s issues. Connecticut Coalition for Children: 1992 Visionary Leadership Award for the Connecticut Child Plan. Family Services Agencies of Connecticut: Legislator of the Year, 1991. Connecticut Alliance for the Mentally Ill: Leadership Award, 1992.