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Editorial: The choices for state and federal representatives
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Editorial: The choices for state and federal representatives

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Napa County is very fortunate to have strong elected representation at the state and federal levels, in the form of Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena; State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa; and Assemblymember Cecila Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters.

As a practical matter, the elections were decided in the March 3 primary election, but the state’s “Top Two” primary system sends the top two state and federal candidates to the ballot, no matter how lopsided the vote may have been.

All three Democrats, therefore, face an opponent, though in none of the cases do they seem seriously threatened.

Congress, 5th DistrictThompson represents a district that sprawls from Lake Berryessa to Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park, from Lakeport to Martinez. Having served in Congress since 1999, he is now seeking his 12th term.

Thompson has been a tireless champion of sensible gun regulations and, as a veteran and active hunter, he has the credibility to lead the effort as chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He sits on the powerful Ways & Means Committee, where he is chairman of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, which sets tax policy.

Thompson has served the district well over the years, advocating for veterans, the wine industry and for relief following the natural and man-made disasters that have beset us in recent decades.

Thompson’s experience and seniority mean he is poised to become an even more powerful figure on Capitol Hill should Democrats win the Senate and White House in November.

He is being challenged by Republican Scott Giblin, an IT technician from Santa Rosa. Giblin’s official social media account is laced with Trumpian talking points, including attacks on the “liberal agenda” and denial that climate change represents any kind of crisis. He opposes any form of regulation on firearms and calls California “a repressive state.”

While he seems sincere, we believe his views are too extreme for the mainstream in the district.

We strongly endorse Mike Thompson for another term in Congress.

Assembly, 4th DistrictAguiar-Curry, the former mayor of the small city of Winters, represents a district that includes all of Napa and Lake counties and parts of Yolo, Colusa, and Solano counties. She is seeking her fourth term.

She has served the interests of her diverse district well, focusing on agriculture, health, and disaster relief. She chairs the Assembly’s Select Committee on Wine and also heads the Assembly’s Local Government Committee.

Although she is not from Napa, she has done a good job understanding and representing the county’s interests in Sacramento. Her experience and understanding of the needs of small, rural cities, coupled with her position on the Local Government Committee, make her a valuable asset.

She faces Republican Matt Nelson, who came in second in the March primary, taking about 30 percent in a three-way race. A self-described “disaster relief organizer” from Lake County, his platform is a list of fairly standard talking points for the California GOP, including no new taxes, funding for new dams and reservoirs, and repeal of recent criminal justice reforms to restore a tough on crime atmosphere.

We have no reason to doubt his sincerity, but Nelson has no experience in government and his positions are clearly too conservative for the district and the majority of voters in Napa County.

We strongly endorse Aguiar-Curry for another term in the Assembly.

State Senate, 3rd DistrictDodd represents a district that includes all of Napa County and parts of Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties. The former business owner and Napa County supervisor is seeking his 2nd term in the state Senate.

Dodd has had a long career in politics, having served on the Board of Supervisors for 14 years before being elected to the Assembly in 2014. He has always been an effective leader, but he seems to have flowered in the State Senate, where he chairs the Committee on Governmental Organization and co-chairs the Select Committee on the Wine Industry and the Legislative Delta Caucus.

Dodd is a prolific legislator, with dozens of bills to his credit. He is active in ag issues and has been a close ally of Gov. Gavin Newsom in efforts to deal with the increasingly horrific fire situation in the state and untangling the mess that is PG&E, the state’s largest utility and the source of many of the worst fires in recent years.

Dodd seems to relish his current role in Sacramento and he has a knack for building relationships that serve his district well. It appears he is in the prime of his political career.

He is being challenged by Republican Carlos Santamaria. The Napa business owner waged a low-profile write-in campaign during the March 3 primary and managed to make it to the November ballot only by virtue of having come in second. He got 2,126 votes, besting two other write-in candidates, while Dodd got 212,004 votes, more than 98 percent.

His campaign so far has included a stream of generic attacks on Democrats over “Sanctuary Cities” and misrepresentations of bills for which Dodd voted. His central issue, based on his social media account, is attacking the state and local lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus update. On his official social media account, he has adopted a belligerent tone. At one point, he attacked a clerk at a store who asked him to wear his mask over his nose, which is the recommended way to use face masks, describing the young woman as a “this little power hungry “nazi”.”

Not only do we believe his platform is out of step with Napa County, but we also believe his rhetoric is unbecoming of an elected official at any level of government.

We strongly endorse Bill Dodd for another term in the Senate.

The Napa Valley Register Editorial Board consists of Publisher Davis Taylor, Editor Sean Scully, and public members Cindy Webber, Ed Shenk, Mary Jean Mclaughlin and Chris Hammaker.

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