Rebecca Thompson is often described as a “political newcomer” in the press. It doesn’t do her justice.
A quick glance at the 31-year-old’s credentials reveals keen leadership ability and a history of bold political advocacy. Read on to learn why we are so excited about Rebecca’s future in politics.
Breaking boundaries from day one
Born and raised in the Detroit-area district she seeks to represent, Rebecca overcame family struggles with poverty and homelessness to become a first-generation college student at Northern Michigan University. She was the first African American female elected as president of the student body in the school’s history.
Eye on the future
Rebecca doesn’t just talk about investing in young people - she follows through. While still a student herself, she became Chair of the Association of Michigan Universities, and lobbied at all levels of government to keep Michigan’s colleges affordable. After graduating, she struck out for Washington D.C. and began her political career as Legislative Director for the United States Student Association, fighting to increase Pell Grant funding and lower interest rates on student loans. While in the nation’s capital, she also led the mayor’s youth development project and directed the national initiative Young People For, roles that enabled her to connect young people with policy makers and training programs in order to foster a new generation of progressive leadership.
Home is where her heart is
As successful as she was in D.C., Rebecca chose to return home and serve her Detroit community. She became Senior Director of Engagement for the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, working to help local families thrive by providing food, financial resources, and K-12 youth programs.
The word is out
Given her extensive experience in organizational leadership and community advocacy, it is not surprising that Rebecca has built a long list of supporters going into her August 5th Democratic primary. To date, her official endorsements include United Auto Workers, the Michigan Nurses Foundation, Michigan police and fire fighters’ unions, Emily’s List and Democracy for America, as well as every major newspaper in Detroit.
Rebecca’s broad base of supporters have been impressed not only by her proven ability as a leader, but by her big-picture understanding of Michigan issues. Rebecca advocates for investing in K-12 education and college accessibility, and her experience in education advocacy proves that she is not just paying lip service. She also believes in raising Michigan’s minimum wage and broadening benefits like sick leave in order to fight growing poverty and bolster the shrinking middle class. Finally, Rebecca is not afraid to fight for reproductive justice and health services for women in a state that has been heavy-handed in its restriction of reproductive freedom in recent years.
Rebecca is one of six Democratic challengers in her race, but she is widely recognized as the only candidate capable of unseating incumbent Brian Banks, whose time in office has been marred by a string of felony convictions and a sexual harassment case. Michigan District 1 is heavily Democratic, so the August 5th primary will essentially determine the region’s next representative.
Rebecca Thompson is that rare candidate who can bring both fresh perspective and extensive experience to public office. Our eyes and hearts will be trained on Michigan Tuesday night as we root for this Detroit native set on delivering progressive change for her community.
*Update State Rep. Brian Banks topped Rebecca Thompson by just six votes, in what may have been Michigan primary's closest race.