• Oregon Government Ethics Commission, 1974-1979.
  • Chief of Staff, Governor Victor Atiyeh, 1981-1986.

About Gerry Thompson

Gerry Thompson has deep family roots in Oregon and has been enthralled by the Capitol Building and the legislative process throughout her life. Her first exposure to politics was collating and assembling legislative bills as a high school student, which at the time she notes: ”It meant a lot. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew it meant a lot.”

As an adult, Gerry actively volunteered for multiple activities for the Republican Party, particularly in Marion County. In 1974, Gerry became a member of Oregon’s new Government Ethics Commission, eventually becoming its chair.

Being a strong supporter of then Sen. Vic Atiyeh, Gerry worked on his first two gubernatorial campaigns; his loss in 1974, and his successful bid for governor in 1978. Thompson became Gov. Atiyeh’s chief of staff during his second term in office; the first woman to hold that post in Oregon. Her years as chief of staff were exciting and challenging. Oregon suffered from a deep multi-year recession that rocked Oregon’s economy during her tenure. Also, Thompson had responsibility for handling the political and cultural consequences resulting from the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers’ temporary residence in Oregon.

Reflecting on her life in politics during her oral history, Gerry Thompson stated: “It was just an incredible experience. “

You can help preserve history

When you donate to the Capitol Foundation or purchase Pacific Wonderland license plates for your car, you help create a living history of our Capitol and its history. Your support funds programs such as our oral history project. This program gives students, history buffs and our state’s future leaders an opportunity to learn about Oregon’s most important stories from the people who made it happen. Thank you!