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Former governor Thompson to co-chair new Midwest Council

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Tommy Thompson was an endless cheerleader for Wisconsin during his 14 years as governor.  

Now, he plans to do the same for the entire Midwest.  

The Republican Thompson is teaming up with Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson to co-chair the new bipartisan Midwest Council -- which will lobby Congress in the hopes of bringing more federal benefits to a region that's often been overlooked in the past.  

Thompson was the Badger State's governor from 1987 through 2000, and then spent four years as the nation's Health and Human Services secretary.  

Nelson is a former Nebraska governor and U.S. senator. They'll unveil their plans Thursday to the National Press Club in Washington.  

Thompson says the goal is to give the Midwest a, "larger voice in D.C."  

The Midwest has lost factory jobs in recent years -- and it lost representation in Congress to faster-growing regions like the Southwest.  

Richard Longworth of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says the Midwest is "miserable" in speaking up for itself, because the states have a hard time cooperating with each other. So far, the Midwest Council is getting most of its corporate support from Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Nebraska. It hopes to eventually line up 12 states under its wing.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)