Tommy Thompson
Tommy Thompson, former Wisconsin governor, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He was elected to the first of his four terms as governor in 1986, defeating incumbent Democrat Tony Earl. The Elroy native had gained a reputation as "Doctor No" during his terms in the state Assembly, when he blocked many Democratic initiatives, but, as governor, he became a dynamo of innovation. Under his watch, Wisconsin ended its traditional welfare program and required mothers to either get jobs or take work training. He enacted the nation's first school-choice program in Milwaukee. He developed a state health insurance program for the uninsured and was a champion of stem-cell research at the UW-Madison. He served as Health and Human Services secretary during President Bush's first term and was the government's health spokesman during the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the anthrax scare that followed. Less known was his championing of health care services for women in Afghanistan and other underdeveloped countries. Thompson currently has several private sector jobs but dangles the possibility he might once again run for office.