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Vernon Wallace Thomson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vernon Thomson
Vernon Wallace Thomson.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1961 – December 31, 1974
Preceded byGardner R. Withrow
Succeeded byAlvin Baldus
33rd Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 7, 1957 – January 5, 1959
LieutenantWarren P. Knowles
Preceded byWalter J. Kohler, Jr.
Succeeded byGaylord A. Nelson
32nd Attorney General of Wisconsin
In office
January 1, 1951 – January 7, 1957
GovernorWalter J. Kohler, Jr.
Preceded byThomas E. Fairchild
Succeeded byStewart G. Honeck
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
In office
1935–1951
Personal details
Born(1905-11-05)November 5, 1905
Richland Center, Wisconsin
DiedApril 2, 1988(1988-04-02) (aged 82)
Washington, D.C.
Political partyRepublican

Vernon Wallace Thomson (November 5, 1905 – April 2, 1988) was the 33th Governor of Wisconsin from 1957 to 1959.

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Transcription

We've all heard about how many bad things the U.S. government did to American Indians in the past. But what about today? Like most people, the only time I hear about today's American Indians is when people are outraged about sports mascots or team names, like the Washington Redskins. But sports teams' names are the least of Indians' problems. Did you know that Indians have the highest rate of poverty of any racial group in America? Did you know that alcoholism is more common among Indian youths than among youths in any other ethnic group? Did you know that the rate of child abuse among Indians is twice as high as the national average? Until I visited Indian reservations for my book, The New Trail of Tears, I didn't know any of this. What was at the root of these terrible problems? I wondered. And the deeper I dug, the more I realized that, between the 19th century and today, nothing has changed: it's still the government. The two main agencies that oversee the activities of Indians who live on reservations are the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, and the Bureau of Indian Education, or BIE. Education, economic development, tribal courts, road maintenance, agriculture and social services – the federal government basically funds and controls all of it. It's no wonder Indians say BIA stands for “Bossing Indians Around.” Together, these two agencies have combined budgets of $3 billion per year, and have 9,000 employees. That's one employee for every 111 Indians on a reservation. Of that $3 billion per year, the BIE uses $850 million of it to educate 42,000 students. That's more than $20,000 per student, compared to a national average of $12,400 per student. Plenty of other federal agencies also have programs for Indians. For instance, the Indian Health Service had a 2015 budget of over $4.6 billion. And yet, there are widespread and documented reports of nurses being unable to administer basic drugs, of broken resuscitation equipment, and of unsanitary medical facilities. Obviously, inadequate funding isn't the problem. The billions of dollars that the federal government spends on Indians every year hasn't made their lives better. In fact, by most measures of economic and social health, the lives of American Indians are only getting worse. Aside from issues of culture, the only way out of this morass is economic growth, but the reservation system makes this almost impossible. Following a series of treaties and laws over many decades – some well intentioned, some not – the federal government decided to hold Indian land “in trust” in order to prevent non-Indians from ever buying that land. But other than Indians, the only people who have things held in trust for them are children and the mentally incompetent. Can anything better illustrate the low regard the government has for American Indians? The awful consequence of this land trust is that Indians can't sell their land, which means they can't use it the same way other Americans do – for example, as collateral to get a loan to start a business. What bank would lend to landowners who don't own their land? The other effect of this absurdity is that Indians can't develop this land that they don't own. Indian reservations contain almost 30 percent of the nation's coal reserves west of the Mississippi, 50 percent of potential uranium reserves, and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves. Those resources are estimated to be worth nearly $1.5 trillion. But the vast majority of Indian lands with natural resources remain undeveloped because of federal regulations. For instance, for Indians to get permission to mine for coal on Indian land requires 49 steps spanning four federal agencies. Each of these 49 steps can take months or years to be approved. There are so many government regulations that just to apply for a permit to dig a hole costs $6,500. Is it really any wonder that this community is mired in poverty? So, what can be done? For starters, end the trust system. Let Indians do what they want with the land they own. Get the massive federal bureaucracy out of the way. Give American Indians the opportunity to embrace the same thing that has lifted millions of other people out of poverty and into the middle class: free enterprise. It won't happen overnight, and it won't be easy, but it will do a lot more for American Indians than changing the name of the Washington Redskins. I'm Naomi Schaefer Riley for Prager University.

Contents

Early life and education

Vernon Thomson was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He attended what is now Carroll University, in 1925, but graduated from what is now the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in 1927, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity. In 1932, he received his law degree and practiced law.

Career

Thomson became involved in the Republican Party. He was mayor of Richland Center from 1944 to 1951 and a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1935 to 1951, and served as Speaker of the Assembly from 1939 to 1945. He served as Attorney General of Wisconsin from 1951 to 1957. In 1956, he was elected governor of Wisconsin, defeating William Proxmire; he was defeated for reelection as governor in 1958 by Gaylord Nelson.

In 1960, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives representing Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district. He served in the 87th and was reelected to the six succeeding congresses. He was defeated for reelection in 1974, losing to Alvin Baldus. He resigned before the official end of his term, overall serving from January 3, 1961 till December 31, 1974. Thomson was a member of the Federal Elections Commission.

Thomson died in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Richland Center, Wisconsin.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ Thomson, Vernon W. 1905. Wisconsinhistory.org. Retrieved on 2016-01-22.

External links

  • United States Congress. "Vernon Wallace Thomson (id: T000233)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas E. Fairchild
Attorney General of Wisconsin
1951–1957
Succeeded by
Stewart G. Honeck
Political offices
Preceded by
Walter J. Kohler, Jr.
Governor of Wisconsin
1957–1959
Succeeded by
Gaylord Nelson
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gardner R. Withrow
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district

January 3, 1961 – December 31, 1974
Succeeded by
Alvin Baldus
This page was last edited on 6 September 2019, at 10:25
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