The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson
“They did comment on how we looked, how we dressed, but here is something else that I discovered, and this is more serious. They would cover us in a more critical way in terms of our work, than they would a white man. And, for example, I had to prove to—and I know this story would have been planted by the other party—‘What is she accomplishing? Yes, she’s in Congress but what has she accomplished in her two terms?’ And then you’d have to provide the list of everything that you had accomplished. And, I had a predecessor that really had, had nothing to speak of to his name and you’d never see a story like that. And, so yes, they commented on how we looked, what our personalities were like, but then substantively, you had to constantly prove that you were getting things done.”
—The Hon. Jill Lynette Long Thompson, June 15, 2017
U.S. Representative from Indiana (March 28, 1989–January 3, 1995)
Jill Lynette Long Thompson overcame many obstacles to earn a seat in Congress. With service on the Valparaiso city council as her only political experience, she ran a solid, albeit unsuccessful, U.S. Senate campaign in 1986 laying the foundation for her future time in public office. After losing an uphill battle in 1988 for an Indiana seat in the U.S. House held by Republicans for more than a decade, she jumped into a special election the following year for the same district when the incumbent was appointed to the Senate. This time, Long Thompson came out on top.
During her six years in the House, Long Thompson faced unique challenges as a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district and as one of only four women to represent Indiana in Congress. Raised on a dairy farm in Indiana, Long Thompson explains in her oral history how her agricultural background shaped her approach to politics and her House service. She describes the connections between her academic career in business, her experience as a college instructor, and her views on fiscal responsibility and taxes. In her interview she also discusses her work with the Democratic Leadership Council as well as her personal connection to veterans’ issues.
In 1995, she married Don Thompson, changing her name to Jill Lynette Long Thompson. While serving in Congress, she was known as Jill Lynette Long.
LONG, Jill Lynette, a Representative from Indiana; born in Warsaw, Kosciusko County, Ind., July 15, 1952; graduated from Columbia City Joint High School, Columbia City, Ind.; B.S., Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Ind., 1974; M.B.A., Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., 1978; Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind., 1984; assistant instructor and lecturer, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1977–1980; assistant professor Valparaiso University, 1981–1986, 1987–1988; adjunct professor, Indiana University/Purdue University-Fort Wayne, 1987–1989; member, Valparaiso, Ind., city council, 1984– 1986; business consultant; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate in 1986; unsuccessful candidate for election to the One Hundred First Congress in 1988; elected as a Democrat to the One Hundred First Congress by special election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of United States Representative Daniel Ray Coats; reelected to the two succeeding Congresses (March 28, 1989–January 3, 1995); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the One Hundred Fourth Congress in 1994; fellow at the Institute of Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Cambridge, Mass.; business executive; Under Secretary for Rural Economic and Community Development, Department of Agriculture, 1995-2001; unsuccessful candidate for election to the One Hundred Eighth Congress in 2002.
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The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson reveals the expectations for her as a young woman growing up in Indiana.
Growing Up on a Farm
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson discusses the influence of farm life on her future political career.
Challenging Congressional District
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson describes the challenges of representing a competitive congressional district.
Serving on the Agriculture Committee
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson explains how her background made for a good fit on the Agriculture Committee.
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson explains the personal connection she had to veterans' issues.
Importance of Women Staff
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson speaks about the value of women staff on Capitol Hill.
Memorable Harassment Statement
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson recalls a speech she made on the House Floor after a colleague made an inappropriate remark.
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson reflects on the value of the Congresswomen's Caucus.
Uphill Battle for Women Members
The Honorable Jill Lynette Long Thompson explains the extra scrutiny and pressure women Members faced to prove their worth in Congress.