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U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson met with his Napa and Sonoma County constituents Friday morning in Calistoga, to informally discuss current issues like immigration, tax issues, gun control, affordable housing, and prescription drug costs.

After a warm welcome, however, the standing-room only crowd made it clear they had pretty much one thing on their mind — impeachment.

Though other topics were raised, the audience pressed the Democratic representative for answers regarding inaction on the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Thompson held the position that impeachment would be “premature” at this time. He cited ongoing investigations including those into Trump’s tax returns, committee bank issues, and judiciary-specific items by the Ways and Means Committee, on which Thompson sits.

Nothing different would happen by starting an impeachment process, he said, however, the divisive issue would put certain Democratic politicians in danger of not getting re-elected to office, thus giving up the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“A failed impeachment would mean a Republican house and that would be dangerous. Some (politicians) are on the edge and could go either way. If we move for impeach they will be in big trouble,” Thompson said. “I don’t know at this time what you gain by starting the impeachment process. Investigations are being conducted. It’s a process and it’s not easy. Stay the course with the investigations. We’re making progress. When evidence turns up, we’ll proceed. Legal experts say we’re going in the right direction.”

One member of the audience summed up ensuing questions and comments by stating, “Nothing ever happens and we’re so frustrated.”

Thompson said he felt their frustration, and would add investigative updates more frequently in his newsletters.

“We all want to get rid of this guy. I don’t disagree he’s the worst president we’ve ever had. I’d love to see him impeached,” he said. “No one is saying impeachment is off the table. I get it. I realize you’re frustrated but we can’t circumvent the system. There is a system in place, and if we circumvent it the way we like, the next people could use it to circumvent the system as they like.”

Immigration

In July, Rep. Thompson toured a migrant detention center in Texas and witnessed conditions there first hand. He said the situation at these centers on the border are awful, but have somewhat improved.

“When we started putting things in action and making regular visits, things improved. We provided funding that was long overdue,” he said.

One of the things he saw was that people hadn’t showered in 20 days, so, “we had showers on order with emergency funding and an appropriation bill to deal with situation at the source,” he said.

Thompson also described a meningitis outbreak that had occurred amongst detainees while he was there. Authorities at the center are having to deal with health and human services issues, which they shouldn’t have to be responsible for, he said.

Community members asked how they could help. Thompson suggested donations to Catholic Charities, which has a site positioned across the street from the detention center and offers counseling, translation cards and other necessities to immigrants. New Green DealThompson also wanted to talk about climate change and address the Green New Deal but time in the one-and-a half hour gathering drew short. The Green New Deal is a congressional proposal to quickly transition the country to a clean economy.

“I believe in science and in climate change. We need to do all we can set to aside public lands,” he said.

During his term, Thompson said his goal was to protect 1 million acres but wants to up that goal. He said the 5th congressional already exemplifies the New Green Deal, with geothermal work, sustainable agriculture and green energy. “We are plugged into it and need to be the leader.”

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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com or 942-4035.

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