Thompson breezes to a third term in Congress
By Morgan Hill & Kasumi Hirokawa
For the third election in a row, Republican Glenn Thompson won the vote for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District.
He defeated Democrat Charles Dumas.
“I’m real pleased and honored with the support we’ve received,” said Thompson.
Graduate of Penn State University and Temple University, Thompson was first elected representative in 2008 and again in 2010. Before that, he spent 28 years as a therapist, rehabilitation services manager and licensed nursing home administrator, making him an advocate of increased access, affordability and quality of care, as well as patient choice.
As representative, Thompson serves on the House Agriculture Committee, where he is chairman of the subcommittee on conservation, energy and forestry. Thompson also is a member of the House of Education & Workforce Committee as well as the House Natural Resources Committee.
Spring Mills resident Marci Lynch is a Thompson supporter.
“The main reason I voted for him is because he’s a God-centered man and he is a fiscal conservative,” she said. “I really think that’s what our country needs right now because our economy is so bad. [Thompson] is seven days a week, 14 hours a day, and sometimes longer. If you’re really going to go in there and get something done then you have to work as hard as he does, and he does work very hard.”
Dumas is a professor in the School of Theatre and formerly an associate professor in the Department of African-American Studies at Penn State University. He is also a visiting professor at the University of the Free State in South Africa.
Dumas, a graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz, is a writer, director, artistic director and co-founder of the Loaves and Fish Traveling Rep Company.
For three years, Dumas served as chair for the Human Relation Commission of the State College Borough. He has been active in human and civil rights movements for his 17 years in Centre County, and participated in the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech took place.
“We knew all along that we had an uphill climb,” said Dumas’ wife Jo. “It’s been many decades since a Democrat has been elected... but it’s been a wonderful process.”
Thompson and Dumas agreed that unemployment and underemployment are large issues that need addressing, but they had different ideas on how to approach the problem.
While Dumas supports a government-funded health care program, Thompson said it would cost the district even more jobs.
The candidates also disagreed on issues dealing with the state’s voter ID law. Thompson stands behind the law, while Dumas says it’s “a solution looking for a problem.”
There are 19 congressional districts in Pennsylvania. Before tonight’s election, Democrats held seven seats while Republicans held 12 seats. The 5th congressional district is the largest in the state, but the least densely populated. It serves all or part of 17 counties, including Centre County.
“I’m appreciative of Charles,” said Thompson. “He’s a gentleman and he’s conducted himself as such. It’s very refreshing to have an issue-based campaign.”