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Thompson gets GOP backing in District 36

Lakeville resident David Thompson is the endorsed Republican candidate in Minnesota Senate District 36.

David Thompson knows good things can happen if you're just willing to ask. The Lakeville resident launched a 12-year career in radio by being persistent with station managers and being willing to work for free. And now he has a shot at becoming a Minnesota Senator because he was willing to ask Republicans in Senate District 36 to support him.

Thompson, who currently owns his own law firm in Lakeville, received the District 36 GOP endorsement at the district convention Saturday. He got 62 percent of the vote on the second ballot. Farmington City Council member Christy Jo Fogarty was second on both ballots. Farmington resident Theresa Stokes and Lakeville School Board member Bob Erickson also competed for the endorsement.

"I absolutely enjoyed it," Thompson said of the nominating convention. "I love to get together with folks who are interested in the political process and concerned about the future of the country and the state. That would have been true win, lose or draw."

Thompson started considering the Senate seat several weeks ago when he heard suggestions current Senator Pat Pariseau was considering retiring. When Pariseau made her decision to step down official Feb. 22 Thompson jumped at the chance to replace her. He filed paperwork that day with the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board and announced his candidacy.

Thompson said he believes strongly in limited government. He'd like to see a reduction in what he calls regulatory burdens on business owners and he'd like to see some form of tuition tax credits or vouchers that would help lower-income residents send their children to private schools.

"I believe the ability to get a good education shouldn't be dependent upon being wealthy," Thompson said. "I believe that economic freedom and liberty ... are at the heart of the issues we need to address right now."

Thompson has been talking politics for a long time. He graduated from East Grand Forks High School in 1980 and majored in economics and political science at the University of North Dakota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1987. He said he's been interested in politics for his entire adult life.

Thompson started listening to talk radio in the 1980s and one day started calling radio stations and asking them to put him on the air. He worked in radio for more than two years before he ever got a paycheck for it, he said. Eventually his persistence paid off with a chance to fill in for Jason Lewis on KSTP-AM.

"It just kind of built," Thompson said. "They allowed me to take what was supposed to be a temporary shot at a Sunday slot."

When Norm Coleman ran for Senate in 2002 Thompson took over his Saturday show and in 2006 he got his own daily show. That ran until April of last year.

On the radio Thompson discussed political issues, social issues, economics and occasionally music. It was an experience Thompson hopes will help define his approach to working at the capitol.

"What I would like to think is that people remember be as someone who, while I have a strong opinion, I was willing to allow people with a different opinion to voice it," Thompson said. "I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable. That's the demeanor I hope to bring to the Minnesota Senate."

As of last week there were no announced Democratic candidates for the seat. The District 36 DFL holds its endorsing convention March 6.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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