Former governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson, officially announced his candidacy for president on April 4th, in Des Moines, Iowa. Thompson served as governor for 14 years before stepping down to become Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush Cabinet, where he served for four years. He was a member of the Wisconsin legislature from 1967 to 1987, the year he was elected governor.
Thompson is attracting support from many prominent people in the motorcycle community, because he rides a bike himself, knows motorcycle issues and is a friend of the motorcycle rights community.
At the urging of state Senator Dave Zien of Wisconsin, Thompson started an annual Governor’s Ride in 1995, which he still participates in. This year, the 13th Annual Governor’s Reunion Ride will be going to Ames, Iowa, for the Straw Poll vote. Why is that important? Because organizers of Team Tommy want to bring thousands of bikers to Ames on August 10th and 11th to show support for Thompson, and hopefully many of the Iowan bikers will vote for him at the Straw Poll. The Straw Poll is extremely important, because candidates who do well here will move forward and continue in the race as viable candidates. Thompson needs to score big in Ames in order to stay in the race.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for bikers to support one of our own, and show him how much we appreciate what he has done for us in the past,” said Vicki Sanfelipo, Team Tommy Chairperson. Vicki is married to Tony “Pan” Sanfelipo, founder of ABATE of Wisconsin, and they are good friends of Thompson’s. In 2002, Thompson attended their wedding on top of Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota, and walked Vicki down the aisle. Later that year, he was inducted into the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
At least eight Sturgis Hall of Fame members are known to support Thompson at this time, because they know the value of having one of their own elected as president. Because of election rules governing not-for-profit organizations, many ABATE chapters cannot publicly endorse Thompson, but within the ranks there is a ground swell of support.
Thompson has ridden with MRF president, Kirk “Hardtail” Willard, Senator Dave Zien and Senator Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell. He received gifts of appreciation from the AMA’s Ed Youngblood during a tour of the AMA Motorcycle Museum in Ohio, riding with 200 supporters during a Governor’s Ride to Washington, D.C. While Secretary of Health and Human Services, he rode in the Rolling Thunder parades and accompanied ride organizers to the White House for an historic meeting with President George Bush. Also while at HHS, he offered to help fix the loop hole in the HIPAA language but after discussions with the AMA and MRF, it was decided that it would be best to go through Congress for a permanent fix that would not likely be challenged in court. Thompson also went on record, both in Wisconsin and Washington, as being against a federal helmet mandate.
Thompson, in the eyes of these bikers, is the only rational choice in either party. He is, as he describes himself, a “reliable conservative.” Although motorcycle issues are important to these rights leaders, there are huge issues like the war in Iraq and health care that are on their minds also. Thompson has a viable plan for Iraq, something we haven’t heard about from the other candidates. He wants to allow the Iraqi people to have a stake in the oil reserve profits in that country and he wants to create separate governments for the Sunni’s, Shiite’s and Kurds, under one national rule. Thompson also supports our troops and will not withdraw or limit funding as long as we have men and women in harms way. It’s the wrong thing to do and he knows it.
To get to know Thompson better, visit www.tommy2008.com for more concise information about his record and plans. There is also information about the ride to Ames and the party during the Straw Poll vote on www.teamtommy.org, which is the web site for the bikers on Team Tommy who support him. They will be in Ames on August 10th and 11th, bringing the Governor’s Annual Reunion Ride with them. Tony “Pan” Sanfelipo and Kirk “Hardtail” Willard will be riding to Ames from Sturgis, where they plan on attending the Sturgis Freedom Fighters Hall of Fame breakfast. Bob Illingworth, long time motorcycle rights activist and former Director of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame is being honored there this year. Tony Pan and Hardtail are longtime friends of Illingworth. Illingworth was the director of the museum when Tommy Thompson was inducted in 2002.
On Friday, August 10, 2007, there will be a huge street dance in the downtown Ames cultural district, with the Charlie Brechtel band providing the tunes. Charlie is an annual attraction at the Buffalo Chip campground in Sturgis, and has played at the Love Ride in Los Angeles. He supports Tommy and has several interviews posted on You Tube and his web site, www.big7productions.com
The Straw Poll vote will be the next day, with a parade of bikes in support of Tommy Thompson coming in from Des Moines. Be a part of history and support a man who many in the motorcycle community believe is the best candidate out there.