Richard Thompson first arrived at the Legislature in 1980, when he was elected to the House of Delegates. He returned to the House in 2000, and was re-elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Prior to being selected Speaker in 2007, Delegate Thompson served as vice chairman of the legislative Rule-Making Review Committee. He was again chosen Speaker by his colleagues in 2009.
Rick and his wife, Beth Chambers Thompson, live in Lavalette. They have four children, Wesley, Rachel, Wade, and Dalton, and two grandchildren.
The son of a coal miner and homemaker, Rick Thompson grew up in Fort Gay, West Virginia. His father, Richard, was killed in a Wayne County coal mine before Rick was born. Rick spent most of his childhood with his grandparents, Fred Thompson and the late Katie Thompson, who reared both him and his older brother.
After graduation from high school, Rick attended Marshall University before volunteering for the draft in 1972. He served in the United States Armed Forces until 1974, when he received an honorable discharge.
Rick re-entered Marshall University in September 1974. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Marshall University in 1976 and graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1978. During law school, he worked for the prosecuting attorney's office. He completed his studies at both Marshall University and West Virginia University law school one year ahead of schedule and graduated with honors from both.
Upon graduating from law school, Rick decided to return home to practice law.
During his twenty-eight years as an attorney, Rick has served his community in numerous capacities and developed a broad and varied legal background. He is self-employed as a sole practitioner operating a general law practice that represents both small businesses and consumers in the Wayne, Cabell, Lincoln and Kanawha areas.
In 1981, he became the assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County. In 1984, he served as Wayne County divorce commissioner until the family court system was instituted. Rick served on the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board from 1989 to 1997 and was the Chairman of the Board for the majority of that time. He was also general counsel to Lavalette State Bank prior to its merger with Huntington Banks, and served as general counsel to Crum PSD, Lavalette PSD, and the Town of Fort Gay.