Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, is a fair-minded, well-informed, pragmatic congressman who thoroughly deserves another term representing District 5.
Thompson has been in Congress since 1999, and he seems to be in his political prime.
He’s senior enough to have plenty of clout and plum committee assignments, but still vibrant enough to be able to earn re-election based on his recent accomplishments instead of coasting along on inertia and nostalgia.
He and his staff are widely respected for their constituent service – the mundane but crucial task of helping regular folks navigate the byzantine federal bureaucracy and cut through red tape.
Thompson voted for impeachment and is clearly no fan of President Donald Trump. But he’s been able to put that aside and work with the Trump administration for the good of his constituents.
When asked what the Trump administration has done well, he praised Trump appointee Robert Lighthizer, lead negotiator on the USMCA (United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement), which Thompson calls “a great improvement over NAFTA.”
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Thompson also praised the administration’s response to the wildfires that have ravaged parts of District 5. Thompson worked with the administration to secure desperately needed federal relief funds.
Thompson is the fourth ranking member of the powerful Ways & Means Committee and chairs its Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, which is the origin of all tax legislation. Thompson wrote the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act, a package of tax initiatives that promotes clean energy.
Thompson is respected by everyone from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appointed him to an eight-member Working Group that helped negotiate the USMCA, to the dwindling ranks of fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, of which Thompson is still a proud member.
Thompson has also sided with progressives as a cosponsor of the sweeping Green New Deal. Yet his fiscal conservatism and his feel for the issues that are important to his district – housing, fires, mental health – have won over Republicans and independents.
Thompson’s climate change goals, like impeachment and his valiant efforts to pass sensible gun legislation, are unlikely to gain much traction in the Republican-dominated Senate. But that shouldn’t detract from Thompson’s deep legislative experience, coalition-building skills, and ability to deliver on wildfire relief, tax provisions for low-income housing, and the other issues that most directly affect his constituents.
We urge him to draw upon his experience and seniority to work on immigration, homelessness, housing, and securing more federal money for educational programs, especially in the poorest parts of District 5. He’s already doing so by supporting the Farmworkers Modernization Act, and we encourage him to keep it up.
Any freshman representative faces a steep learning curve before they reach Thompson’s level of expertise. His challengers this year are Republican Scott Giblin and Democrats Jason Kishineff and John Wesley Tyler. We interviewed them, considered their qualifications, and we believe Thompson is the best candidate.
We urge readers to vote for Thompson in the March 3 primary.
The Star editorial board consists of editors David Stoneberg and Sean Scully and community volunteers Norma Ferriz, Christopher Hill, Shannon Kuleto, Bonnie Long, Peter McCrea, Gail Showley and Dave Yewell.