MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Embattled Minnesota State Rep. John Thompson says he has learned from his past mistakes and is ready to work for the people he represents.

On July 4 he was pulled over for not having a front license plate. Today he cleared up that traffic violation by paying a $100 fine.

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But the past few months have been rocky for the state representative. Allegations of domestic abuse were revealed, questions surfaced about where he lived, and he was kicked out of the Minnesota DFL caucus.

Now, he says he’s ready to talk about it in an exclusive WCCO interview with Reg Chapman.

“I’m excited about our upcoming session because I’m able to work with everybody now and that’s how it’s supposed to be,” said Thompson.

Thompson is focused on what he hopes to accomplish as an independent lawmaker.

“And hopefully we can come up with ideas that benefit my community, because my community needs a lot of resources,” he said.

FULL INTERVIEW: Rep. John Thompson Talks 1-On-1 With WCCO’s Reg Chapman


During his freshman year in the house, Thompson says he authored bills that focused on business and resources in his community.

“We do need investment in housing and jobs and economic development contracts and procurement with the state,” Thompson said.

But his efforts were almost derailed before he got into office.

During a trip to Hugo, where he protested the now-former president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, things turned ugly with Thompson at the center of a dispute.

“There are a couple of regrets from Hugo,” he said.

Thompson says he was not supposed to speak that day or be a part of the protest, but actions by others forced him to react.

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“Draw a line in the sand if you spit on me or spit at me and that’s what happened. So when they get this soundbite that John is yelling, John is not yelling at women and children. I’m yelling at the young man who spit at us earlier,” he said. “I regret hitting the piñata. I didn’t know it was an effigy, people. Don’t believe it or not, [but] I didn’t know it was effigy of somebody’s wife.”

But it was a traffic stop the weekend of July 4 that caused friction between the DFL and Thompson.

“Imagine the weekend of the anniversary of your friend being murdered behind a traffic stop. Imagine those lights coming on behind you,” Thompson said.

The state representative. said he was racially profiled, the officer involved denies that. Trouble began when he handed the officer an out-of-state driver’s license.

“[It’s the] same driver’s license I presented to the house human resources department, same driver’s license. So slap my wrist, but don’t send my family through this because of my driver’s license,” Thompson said.

That license issue led to a deeper search of records and turned up allegations of domestic abuse, allegations he and his wife deny.

“I promised my family we wouldn’t be here, [and] then here we are. Not off of something I did right now, but we had to go dig and find something, and then to use that to try and attack me politically,” he said. “I can own up and say this is something I feel bad about, and I can own up and say yes I could have made better decisions here. But everybody has to do that.”

Thompson says his work is now more focused on issues that face his constituents.

“I’m going to no longer attack people and I’m going to attack the problem and that’s what I will do going forward,” he said.

Thompson says his children went to Johnson High School and he took WCCO’s Reg Chapman to his home in the Payne-Phalen area of St. Paul to prove he has lived on the east side for years.

He added he will continue to speak boldly about things happening in his community, no matter what others think or say.

You can find the extended interview with Thompson later tonight on our app CBSN Minnesota.

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Reg Chapman