By Debbie Gregory
As we head into October, the Macon County Chronicle would like to recognize District Attorney General Tommy Thompson, who has served the 15th Judicial District for 40 years this month.
General Thompson has an extraordinary talent of getting to the truth when the well being of the folks in this area is at stake. Understanding the law, along with seeking justice for the big man as well as the little, General Thompson knows his way around the courtroom. Make no mistake, he knows what he’s doing, and on behalf of the people in Macon County, we honor him at this 40 year milestone of serving as our District Attorney General.
After receiving a law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1969, General Thompson spent two years as a legal officer at the training center at Ft. Bragg, N.C., and in 1971 he was hired by District Attorney General Thomas Shriver as an Assistant District Attorney in Nashville.
When Tommy’s father, also an attorney, grew ill, he came home to Hartsville and practiced law with him until his Dad passed away.
District Attorney General Baxter Key called Thompson one day and said that Jacky Bellar was resigning from his office and he wanted to know if he would be interested in a part-time Assistant DA’s job. “Baxter said I could still practice law and just try the criminal cases for the State,” Thompson said in a 2014 interview with the Macon County Chronicle. “At that time the judicial district was composed of 11 counties.”
General Key resigned after landing in trouble with the law and at the same time the legislature divided the sprawling district into two parts. So, in October of 1977, Tommy Thompson was appointed District Attorney General for five Midstate counties that included Macon, Wilson, Smith, Jackson and Trousdale.
General Thompson ran for the first time in 1978 to fill the unexpired term of Key and was elected. He has been elected five more times in 1982, 1990, 1998, 2006, and 2014.
“Forty years as the District Attorney General is extraordinary,” said Judge John Wootten Jr., of Lafayette. “Given the rigors and demands of the job, the longevity alone is truly amazing. These years represent a great personal sacrifice for him, but also, and more importantly, for his wife, Baxie, and his family.”
“I am certain that he is the longest serving District Attorney General in the history of Tennessee, and I would challenge anyone to find a longer serving District Attorney in the history of the United States,” continued Judge Wootten. “One reason why he has served the people of Macon County and this district for so long is his unique ability to effectively communicate with folks from all walks of life.”
“General Thompson is really a people person,” added Judge Wootten. “He has been and will continue to be the people’s District Attorney General.”