Visiting with former Gov. Tommy Thompson, right, are, from left, Riponites Gregg, Sue and Norm Rasske. Norm spent the time reminiscing about ballooning with Thompson nearly 30 years ago.
Visiting with former Gov. Tommy Thompson, right, are, from left, Riponites Gregg, Sue and Norm Rasske. Norm spent the time reminiscing about ballooning with Thompson nearly 30 years ago.

   “We have to have people who are not afraid to lose in the next election, and who have the courage to stand up and do what’s right.”

   It’s a platitude not often embodied consistently at the federal level, but at least one former Cabinet member believes it’s what’s needed to fix today’s ills.

   Speaking last week Wednesday evening at Ripon College’s Great Hall, former Health and Human Services Secretary and former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thomspon offered the unpopular position as the model for future politicians.

   “Everybody’s polling everyone, and putting their fingers to the wind ... Nobody wants to stand up and ... be a leader,” Thompson said. “We have a lack of leadership at the state level and the federal level ... We need leadership, people who don’t look at the polls, who don’t look at the next election, and look at what they can actually do now. If they do that, it’s amazing how much you can get accomplished.”

   Thompson offered about 20 minutes of prepared remarks before answering a series of questions posed both by moderator and Ripon College politics and government professor Lamont Colucci, and the audience.

   Over the hour spent at Great Hall, Thompson urged students to become inspirational, bipartisan leaders, and offered what he believes is the solution to America’s health-care crisis.

   His most urgent pleas, though, were for politically minded Ripon College students to become politically active.

   “Please, get involved in politics. I don’t care if it’s Democrat, Republican or what — hopefully Republican,” joked Thompson, a popular Republican governor in his time. “But I also hope that you will run for public office, whether it be for school board, county board, town board, state legislature, governor ... Please, get involved.”

Read the full story in the Dec. 7, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.