Thompson, Jim

James R. Thompson, known to Illinoisans as Big Jim, served as the state's governor from January, 1977 to January, 1991, a total of fourteen years. During his long tenure as governor, Thompson developed a reputation as a moderate Republican who was a fiscal conservative, but also a friend of labor and a builder. He also enjoys the reputation as one of Illinois’s most skilled campaigners and politician. Following his many years in office, he worked in the private sector, serving as the chair of the important Chicago law firm, Winston and Strawn for many years. As Illinois’s leading senior stateman, he reflected on Barack Obama surprising emergence to national prominence, first as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, then during run for president and his presidency.