Tennessee Republican Sen. Fred Thompson, a lawmaker who has made eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government a top priority, announced Monday that he will seek reelection in 2002. Thompson said he was leaning toward retirement prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, but that his responsibility to the people of Tennessee and the country in this time of crisis prompted him to seek re-election. "Now is clearly not the time to leave," Thompson said during a press conference in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday. Thompson, who is the ranking member on the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, has made accountability in federal agencies a major part of his agenda. As chairman of the committee for four years before the Democrats took control of the Senate in June, he continually pushed lawmakers and other government leaders to hold federal agencies accountable for results by tying their budgets to performance goals.
Earlier this year Thompson asked the General Accounting Office to assess agencies' annual performance plans and reports under the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Under GPRA, federal agencies are required to craft five-year strategic plans, along with annual performance reports and performance plans.
In June, Thompson issued a comprehensive report, "Government at the Brink," detailing management problems in the federal government as a whole and at individual agencies, calling the government's mismanagement "shocking."
Thompson was elected to the Senate in 1994 to serve the remainder of Al Gore's term after Gore left to become Vice President in the Clinton administration. Thompson was reelected to the Senate in 1996.