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Linda Thompson back and running for Congress - abc27 WHTM

Linda Thompson back and running for Congress

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Linda Thompson has kept a low profile since leaving the mayor's office in Harrisburg.

Politically, the state's capital is in her rearview mirror. Her focus is now on the nation's capital.

"As you know, Dennis, I have always had a passion for people," an upbeat and energetic Thompson told me during a recent sit-down interview. "It's always been service above self, and that is never gonna leave me. It's who I am."

And who Democrat Linda Thompson would like to be is congresswoman in Pennsylvania's solidly Republican 4th Congressional District.

Thompson's seen the voter registration numbers and heard the pundits who say she has no shot against freshman Republican incumbent Scott Perry.

"I also looked at the numbers when I ran against a lifetime mayor (Stephen Reed) and they said it was undoable and he was unbeatable," she said.

Thompson did stun mayor-for-life Reed five years ago, beginning a rocky road as Harrisburg's mayor.

She took the helm of a sinking financial ship and was a controversial leader. City voters said "no thanks" when she ran for re-election last year. Why does she think they won't reject her again?

"I'm not threatened by my loss as  mayor because I have a legacy that I left," Thompson said. "The city is in a much better state than it was when I took office and that's what I want to continue to remind people of. Yes, I was a one-time mayor, but I got the job done."

Thompson says Perry, a suburban York County resident, isn't getting the job done for city dwellers.

"Harrisburg, unfortunately, a lot of the African-Americans didn't even know Scott Perry and didn't know who their congressman was. That's not good. That's not good. I think the nation knows Linda Thompson," she said, referring to national attention she and the city received as it teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Whether that notoriety translates into votes remains to be seen, but Thompson says back in her second year as Harrisburg mayor she sensed her days in that office were numbered. Advisors told her to think bigger.

"There were prophets that came in my office and said: 'this is just a stepping stone. Don't get comfortable because you're not going to remain the mayor. God has greater plans for you. It's higher up.' And one went so far as to say I was gonna be a congresswoman," she said.

But Congress seems such a large leap, especially in the 4th district. Why not go for Harrisburg's state House seat currently held by Patty Kim?

"I have flat out said I have no interest in that seat. It's not big enough for me, It's not big enough for me," she reiterated twice for emphasis.

Thompson also said she had no hand in and wanted no part of an internal fight among Dauphin County Democrats, which didn't endorse Kim; a slap to a sitting incumbent.

She noted that Kim and Senator Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/York) didn't endorse her run for re-election, but insisted she holds no grudges.

"I was an incumbent mayor and they didn't endorse me. I didn't do a pow-wow or a boo-hoo, I dusted myself off and kept going," she said.

Since leaving the mayor's office, Thompson says she's been focused on her family and spending "me time."

But now, she says, it's go time and she's hoping her latest career path will lead to Washington, D.C.

 

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