Rep. Thompson reaches milestone 1,000 days of speaking on House floor
Congressman Glenn Thompson has a lot to say about rural America, and his fellow lawmakers know it.
Last Saturday, Thompson, R-Pa., reached a milestone — his 1,000th day of speaking on the House floor.
“For the past several years, well, for at least 5, I’ve been the number one speaker for the number of days,” he told The Era on Monday. “I like to say I look at it both as a responsibility and an opportunity, to speak on the House floor.”
He’s speaking for his constituents, he said. “I am their vote, but also their voice. I really do work hard to speak on the House floor every opportunity I get.”
The rules and precedents in the U.S. House of Representatives dictate opportunities to speak on the floor and how much time can be used. There is also a “one minute speech” permitted before or after legislative business is conducted each day. In that time, any member may speak on a subject of his or her choice, according to the Committee on Rules for the House.
And why is it so important for Thompson? “I have an opportunity to guide and perhaps influence (legislation) here in Washington. I’ve seen it work.”
He spoke of a few of his successes, like telemedicine, agriculture and career and technical education.
And just what does one spend more than 2 years, 8 months talking about? For Thompson, it’s been a myriad of topics.
“Veterans is probably among the top,” he said, after pondering it for a moment. “Certainly on the thousandth day that was the speech I gave. Saturday, June 25, was National Hire a Veteran Day.”
Health care, agriculture and education are some of the matters about which Thompson has spoken.
“The thing I have probably talked about the most in those one-thousand days is my constituents,” he said. “That is always such a privilege.”
Over his years in office, he has made a dozen appointments to the military academy. “The 12 men and women I was privileged to appoint to the military academy,” Thompson said, “they are all graduating this year.”
He spoke last week about a Venango County school and the way the faculty and staff have prepared for the uncertainty of the coming school year. “I was bragging about my constituents just last week,” he said with a laugh.
The most important reason he strives to speak on the House floor is to gain support for legislation that will have an impact, not only on rural Pennsylvania, but also on the nation, he explained.
A time that stands out in his memory was when he was advocating for his career and technical education bill, saying it was about “really restoring rungs on the ladder of opportunity.”
Those speeches were the most effective, Thompson said. As the bill made its way through the legislature, “not one member of Congress ever voted against it.
“This was the bill I was proud to stand with President Trump on July 31, 2018, in the Oval Office when he signed it into law. What we did with that law really has improved access to opportunity for any American that wants it.”
He spoke with pride in remembering the expansion of telemedicine in 2017.
“The foundations we laid and the Vets Act which expanded it for all the veterans in the country, that was used as a platform that really benefited everybody in this pandemic,” Thompson explained.
His next goal, he said, should he win re-election, is “I hope to be the first member of Congress from Pennsylvania in 202 years to serve as chairman of the Agriculture Committee.”
His goal for that committee is to push to rectify an issue that became all too apparent during the pandemic — nationwide internet connectivity.
“We just have to be there. There’s no excuses. It’s an important part of life. It’s time to complete that last mile of connectivity.”