LTC friend: Scout's honor

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Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson knows he has two friends in Washington: his wife, Penny, and his dog, Truman.

Although, as he jokingly points out, “Truman loves me without conditions.”

In truth, the Republican congressman from Pennsylvania's most rural district has a fair number of friends, especially in long-term care. That's from spending three decades in the field before being elected to Congress in 2008.

The National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL) recently recognized Thompson with the 2011 Congressional Leadership Award, which is given to a member of Congress who has shown interest in protecting those in long-term care.

“He's a good listener,” says Cynthia Morton, executive vice president at NASL. “He's always had an open door. He is one of a small group, that we hope is growing, who understand long-term care.”

Thompson's career is rooted in humble origins: He began as a nursing home orderly 34 years ago. He worked from 7 p.m. to 11 a.m. while he attended college.

“The first big challenge was working full-time and staying awake in class,” he says. As he became a therapist, manager and then administrator, he learned about Medicare regulations “layered on the LTC industry.”

Thompson, 51, says he's never forgotten how intimidating it can be to visit a congressman's office.

“I love to meet with folks, especially people with whom it's their first time to come to the (Capitol) Hill,” he says. “They come with their expertise. We rely on those folks when it comes to votes: They are on the front lines.”

He's “not much one for labels,” but thinks of himself as fiscally and socially conservative. A long-time Boy Scouts of America member, he uses “its principles every day in Congress.”

“There have been times when I haven't voted based on what my party wanted if it's in contrast to my principles,” he says. This included bucking party lines to vote in favor of reauthorization of the State Childrens' Health Insurance Program.

He “unapologetically” asks himself questions stemming from the Boy Scout oath, which pledges, among other things, duty to God and country.

“The hardest thing I had to do is resign as Scoutmaster when I joined Congress,” Thompson says.

Thompson “really does live the Scout law — he's family-oriented, trustworthy, loyal,” says Larry Lane, Genesis HealthCare Corporation's vice president of government relations, who has known the lawmaker for more than 30 years.

“What is remarkable is his loyalty,” Lane says. “That trait is lost sometimes in the Washington world.”
Thompson is the father of three sons — Parker, Kale and Logan — the last of whom is in the U.S. Army, serving in Korea. The sons, incidentally, are the ones who bestowed the name Truman on the mixed-breed dog adopted from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals nine years ago. But it's appropriate, Thompson says.

“A colleague once reminded me of the famous quote [commonly attributed to] Harry Truman: ‘If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.'”

Resume

1977
Starts as an orderly in Centre Crest Nursing Home, Bellefonte, PA

1981
Graduates with B.S. from Penn State University

1982
Becomes therapist for Susquehanna Health System,
Williamsport Hospital

1987
Hired as manager for Susquehanna

1989
Elected to Bald Eagle School District School Board

1998
Completes master's degree in education at Temple University

2006
Becomes Susquehanna nursing administrator

2008   
Elected to Congress
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