Category Archives: Rep. Mike Thompson

Rep. Mike Thompson on long overdue need for gun control

Thompson lauds Biden’s steps against ‘ghost guns’ – Congressman hopes his background check bill is next

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, praised the president's announcement on gun safety measures. (Rich Freedman--Times-Herald)
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, praised the president’s announcement on gun safety measures. (Rich Freedman–Times-Herald)
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Richard Freedman, April 8, 2021

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson has long emphasized he’s a Second Amendment believer. He just doesn’t believe some weapons should be legal or purchased without extensive background checks.

So it wasn’t a surprise that the Democratic congressman from St. Helena was thrilled hearing President Biden’s announcement of a series of executive actions to curb what he called an “epidemic” of gun violence across the country at Thursday’s Rose Garden Ceremony.

“Today is a new day and I’m proud to have a president willing to do the tough work needed to help prevent gun violence and save lives,” Thompson said in a statement. “We need action on all fronts, from the President and the Congress, to help keep our communities safe. Gun violence takes thousands of lives each year and costs our country nearly $300 billion each year. It’s an epidemic and we must act to combat it.”

Calling gun violence “a public health crisis,” Biden announced six executive actions, adding that “nothing impinges on the Second Amendment.”

Biden is tightening regulations of buyers of “ghost guns” — homemade firearms that usually are assembled from parts and milled with a metal-cutting machine and often lack serial numbers used to trace them. It’s legal to build a gun in a home or a workshop and there is no federal requirement for a background check.

Another action — more heavily regulating arm braces used to make firing a pistol more accurate — directly relates to the March shooting in Boulder, Colo., where such a device used to kill 10 people.

“Today’s Executive Actions are an important piece of what is needed to get ahead of the curve,” Thompson said in the morning statement. “These actions will better regulate ghost guns which increasingly are being used in gun violence incidents and concealable rifles like the gun used in the Boulder mass shooting. These are actions I have led the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force in asking the president to take.”

The executive actions “are critical steps forward in our work to prevent gun violence. But they cannot be our last steps as more action is still needed. I remain firm in my work to ensure the Senate holds a vote on H.R. 8, my bipartisan bill to expand background checks and save lives. Our work must continue,” Thompson said.

Later Thursday afternoon in a brief phone interview, Thompson reiterated his support of Biden’s actions.

“I’ve been lobbying for this,” Thompson said before catching a flight back to the Bay Area. “I’ve been pushing this ever since the president was elected.”

The Rose Garden event “was very exciting,” Thompson said, attending the ceremony with “a handful of members of Congress, two senators, and I think four House members. There were a number of people who had gun violence prevention groups and a number of those who have lost their children, wives, husbands, loved ones to gun violence.”

Thompson was invited after the ceremony to the Oval Office, where he chatted briefly with Biden.

“I mentioned that the last time I had been to the White House was to have a meeting on gun violence with his (Biden’s) predecessor (Donald Trump), who made all kinds of promises of what he was going to do and how he was going to fix it. By the time I got to my office, the NRA called him and he already reversed his position.”

Thompson hinted that it was a relief working a president good on his word.

“This president not only knows this policy and knows what he is talking about, he’s heartfelt and committed,” Thompson said. “Every victim here (at the ceremony), this president sat down with.”

Biden “has worked with us to find solutions to gun violence,” Thompson said.

A pro-gun organization, The Second Amendment Foundation, sent a press release out Thursday morning, warning the Biden administration “that if it steps over its legal authority with any executive action or order regarding the constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms, legal action is a certainty.”

The threatening lawsuit didn’t surprise Thompson.

“That’s what they do,” he said. “There were cops there today who experience violence every day. They’re not for suing. The victims aren’t for suing. Members of Congress who have come forward with solutions weren’t for suing. I don’t think the American people are.”

Thompson said his background check bill headed to the Senate is supported by 90 percent of the public.

If and when it passes the Senate and is signed by the president, “I’m going to jump for joy,” Thompson said. “There should be background checks and not soon enough.”

COVID-19: Mike Thompson survey suggests constituents want caution in reopening

Strong support for more Fed funding for public services also noted

U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson listens to a question from one of his constituents at the Lower Lake Coffee & Cream Cafe in 2019 during a question and answer event.
Vallejo Times-Herald, by Lake Co Record Bee, May 13, 2020

WASHINGTON – Congressman Mike Thompson (CA-05) has released the results of a coronavirus relief survey that polled constituents about their experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey was conducted from May 1 through May 8 and results include answers from 4,605 respondents. The survey was emailed out to constituents via Thompson’s mail records list as well as circulated via press reports and Thompson’s social media accounts. Respondents were chosen by self-selection.

Among other things, results suggest a majority of Thompson’s constituency is in support of “cautiously” reopening the economy to prioritize public health, while a significant minority is in support of opening up more quickly to benefit businesses.

“Despite social distancing guidelines that keep us apart, I want to ensure I am doing everything I can to connect with people in our community and ensure their needs are met during this crisis,” said Thompson in a statement. “That’s why I launched my Coronavirus Relief Survey and why I am glad to have input from more than 4,000 people in our district. The results are clear—people want more support from the Federal government. Nearly everyone polled supports expanding the programs started in the CARES Act, such as the Paycheck Protection Program and the expanded unemployment insurance program. The vast majority also favor a cautious approach to opening up our community to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors and friends. Know that these results will inform my continued work to bring Federal relief back to our district.”

Full results of Thompson’s Coronavirus Relief Survey are as follows:

Have you been hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Yes, somewhat: 43.8%
  • No, not at all: 30.2%
  • Yes, very much: 26%
Have you received a stimulus payment?
  • Yes: 42.3%
  • No, but I’m expecting a payment: 30.5%
  • No, I’m not eligible: 21%
  • No, the IRS website is unable to find my information: 6.3%
If yes, have you experienced any issues receiving the amount for which you are eligible? If you answered no to the previous question, skip this question.
  • No: 76.5%
  • Not sure:14.9%
  • Yes: 8.7%
Which CARES Act programs (if any) have helped you or your family?
  • Stimulus payment: 35.1%
  • None: 33.8%
  • Expanded unemployment insurance: 10.7%
  • Small business assistance (PPP, EIDL, etc.): 7.1%
  • Student loan relief: 4.7%
  • Not sure: 3.9%
  • Mortgage forbearance: 3.2%
  • Other: 1.7%
Which CARES Act programs (if any) do you think should be extended or increased?
  • Small business assistance (PPP, EIDL, etc.): 22%
  • Expanded unemployment insurance: 21%
  • Stimulus payment: 16.8%
  • Student loan relief: 15.6%
  • Mortgage forbearance: 15.6%
  • Not sure: 3.3%
  • Other: 3%
  • None: 2.6%
Are you waiting to hear back on any CARES Act relief you have applied for?
  • No: 65.9%
  • Yes, waiting for information or a check from the IRS: 15.1%
  • Yes, waiting for information on unemployment benefits: 10.4%
  • Yes, waiting to hear back on a small business loan: 8.6%
How would you like to see the “re-opening” of our communities play out?
  • More cautiously to prioritize protecting public health: 69.3%
  • More quickly to prioritize getting people back to work: 23.9%
  • Not sure: 3.8%
  • Other: 3%
Do you think Congress should provide more funds to help schools, hospitals, paramedics, police departments, and other services in future coronavirus legislation?
  • Yes: 74.8%
  • Not sure: 12.9%
  • No: 12.2%

COVID-19: Extended deadline, new guidelines for area high school art competition

Rep. Mike Thompson pushes back art competition because of COVID-19

Submissions still being accepted

By VALLEJO TIMES-HERALD, April 8, 2020

Rep. Mike Thompson, California 5th District

Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena announced this week that he has pushed back the deadline and changed the guidelines for high schoolers to submit artwork as part of his 2020 Fifth Congressional District Art Competition.

These changes reflect the shelter-at-home and social distancing guidance issued by local and state authorities, according to a news release from his office. Students will now have until May 28 to submit their work, which they can do electronically.

“Our incredible local artists continue to create despite the uncertain times we are now facing, which is why I’ve updated the deadline and guidelines for high schoolers to participate in my Congressional Art Competition this year,” Thompson said in a statement. “This will allow students for extra time to submit amid the many changes they are facing with this year’s school calendar and allow them to comply with important public health guidelines…I can’t wait to see our great local art again this year!”

Students who wish to participate must submit a high-quality photograph of their art along with scanned or photographed copies of submission paperwork, which can be found by visiting house.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/2020-Student-Release-Form-Fillable.pdf

Submissions can be emailed to CA05Art@mail.house.gov. This is in place of the usual physical submission.

The winning art piece from the district will be sent to Washington D.C. to hang in the United States Capitol for a year. To be considered for the grand prize, students must follow the official rules, which they can read by visiting www.house.gov/sites/default/files/uploads/documents/2020-Rules-for-Students-and-Teachers.pdf

California’s 5th Congressional District includes the cities of Vallejo and Benicia in Solano County, all of Napa and parts of Contra Costa, Lake, and Sonoma counties.

Benicia Crude By Rail remembered in today’s news

[Today’s news is welcome.  Rep. Garamendi doesn’t represent Benicia, but he does represent uprail cities that would have been affected by Valero’s dangerous and dirty proposal to bring oil trains across California.  Garamendi’s bill, HR 5553, has 4 co-sponsors, but does not include Benicia’s representative Mike Thompson.  Let’s hope Mike will get behind this effort!  – R.S.]

John Garamendi introduces crude-by-rail safety bill

Vallejo Times-Herald, by Nick Sestanovich, January 9, 2020
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi, CA 3rd District

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, introduced legislation Wednesday to ensure safer standards for the transport of crude oil and other hazardous materials by train.

House Resolution 5553, also known as the “Crude By Rail Volatility Standards Act,” aims to establish a safety standard for the maximum volatility for crude oils and similar materials transported by rail. It also requires that all crude by rail in America adhere to the New York Mercantile Exchange’s maximum Reid vapor pressure for crude-oil futures contracts of 9.5 pounds per square inch, Garamendi’s office wrote in a news release.

The current industry standard would remain in place until the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completes the rule setting a maximum volatility standard that was first announced in 2017 after the attorneys general of six states, including California, petitioned the U.S. Department of Transportation and PHMSA to finalize the regulation nationwide.

“Every day we delay the implementation of a stronger safety standard for the transport of Bakken crude oil-by-rail, lives are at risk,” Garamendi said in a statement. “My bill simply requires oil companies to decrease the volatility to market levels, rather than carrying unstable products through communities. I am committed to enacting this legislation into law this year as part of the surface transportation reauthorization.”

Garamendi, who is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has been trying to get legislation passed since 2015 to prohibit crude oil from being transported by rail unless it adheres to the New York Mercantile Exchange’s maximum Reid vapor pressure. Garamendi’s office wrote that the actions were influenced by numerous crude-by-rail derailments in previous years, including an accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec in 2013 which killed 47 people and led to changes in operations for Canadian railways.

The topic of crude by rail became a hot-button issue in Solano County in 2013 when the Valero Benicia Refinery announced plans to extend rail lines to have crude-oil delivered to its plant by train rather than by boat. The project — which would have passed through Dixon, Suisun City and Fairfield — was met with opposition and was subsequently voted down by the Benicia Planning Commission and then the City Council.

Garamendi’s co-sponsors on the bill are Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Bill Foster, D-Ill.; Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.; and Jamie Raskin, D-Md.