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Mike Thompson (California politician)

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Title: Mike Thompson (California politician)  
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Subject: California's 1st congressional district, United States congressional delegations from California, California's 5th congressional district, Doug LaMalfa, United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Collection: 1951 Births, American Military Personnel of the Vietnam War, American People of English Descent, American People of Italian Descent, American People of Swiss Descent, California Democrats, California State Senators, California State University, Chico Alumni, California State University, Chico Faculty, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Living People, Members of the United States House of Representatives from California, People from Napa County, California, People from St. Helena, California, San Francisco State University Faculty, United States Army Soldiers
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Mike Thompson (California politician)

Mike Thompson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Doris Matsui
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Frank Riggs
Succeeded by Doug LaMalfa
California State Senator
from the 2nd district
In office
Preceded by Barry Keene
Succeeded by Wesley Chesbro
Personal details
Born Charles Michael Thompson
(1951-01-24) January 24, 1951
St. Helena, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Jan Thompson
Children 2
Residence St. Helena, California
Alma mater California State University, Chico
Napa Valley College[1]
Occupation Vineyard Owner
Religion Roman Catholic
Awards Purple Heart
Combat Infantryman Badge[2]
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1967-1973[2]
Rank Staff Sergeant[2]
Unit 173rd Airborne Brigade[2]
Battles/wars Vietnam War[2]

Charles Michael "Mike" Thompson[3] (born January 24, 1951)[4] is the U.S. Representative for California's 5th congressional district, serving since 1999. He is the current Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.[5] He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered as the 1st District until 2013, includes Napa County plus portions of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano, and Sonoma counties.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • Early political career 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Tenure 3.1
    • Committee assignments 3.2
    • Caucuses 3.3
  • Electoral history 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education and career

Thompson was born in St. Helena, California, the son of Beverly Ann (née Forni) and Charles Edward Thompson. His father had English ancestry and his mother was of mostly Italian and some Swiss descent.[6] He was educated at California State University, Chico, served in Vietnam with the United States Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade,[7] was a vineyard owner and maintenance supervisor, taught Public Administration and State Government at San Francisco State University and California State University, Chico, and was a member of the California State Senate before entering the House.[4]

Early political career

Thompson served as an aide to Democrat Jackie Speier (then a state Assemblywoman) before winning election to the California State Senate in 1990. He very narrowly unseated 4th district Republican incumbent Jim Nielsen after Nielsen's reputation took a hit following a series of ethical missteps;[8][9] Thompson's margin of victory was less than 1 percent.[10]

Following the 1992 general election, Democratic state Senator Barry Keene of the neighboring 2nd District resigned. Thompson, whose hometown of St. Helena had shifted from the 4th district and into the 2nd district after reapportionment, decided to run in the 1993 special election for Keene's seat. He narrowly beat Republican businesswoman Margie Handley but won easy reelection in 1994.[11]

Thompson was approached by national Democrats about running for Congress in 1996 against freshman Republican Frank Riggs, but he declined, believing his senate seniority would be more beneficial to his district than would his being a freshman congressman. In 1998, however, Thompson was due to be termed out of the state senate, and opted to run against Riggs after all. Riggs opted to retire, believing that he faced almost certain defeat given Thompson's name recognition and reputation.[12] Thompson won handily. He has been reelected seven times with no substantive opposition, and has turned what was a swing district for most of the 1980s and 1990s into a fairly safe Democratic seat.

For his first seven terms, Thompson represented a district stretching from the far northern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area all the way to the North Coast. However, his district was renumbered as the 5th district after the 2010 census and was made somewhat more compact, losing most of its northern portion to the 2nd district.

U.S. House of Representatives


Thompson is a Blue Dog Democrat and was previously a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He has been labeled as a "moderate Democratic leader".[13] Thompson has voted with the Democratic party 91% of the time.[14]


Although Thompson identifies himself as Roman Catholic,[4] he is pro-choice. In May 2004, he, along with 47 other Catholic Democratic Congressmembers, sent a letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. to dissuade him from refusing to administer Holy Communion to Catholic Congressmembers who practice pro-choice legislative voting.[15] Judie Brown, president of the pro-life American Life League, issued a response to the letter saying that it is harmful to the Catholic Church to "[perpetuate] the lie that you can be a Catholic in good standing and support abortion."[15] In February 2006, Thompson was one of 55 Democratic Representatives identifying as Catholic who signed a "Statement of Principles," which affirmed a commitment to their faith, but stating opposition to the Catholic doctrine on some issues. They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they would 'follow their conscience' instead of the church's teachings.[16] In response to the "Statement of Principles", the U.S. Catholic Bishops issued a "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life" that said, in part, "Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring to an end the destruction of unborn human life."[17]

Health care

Thompson has been a supporter of a public option for healthcare. In 2009, Thompson wrote that "[b]y streamlining health care, reducing fraud and abuse, ending unnecessary testing, discouraging over-utilization, investing in smart reforms, and emphasizing preventive health care, we can significantly bring down the cost of health care."[18]

Foreign policy

In late 2002, Thompson joined Democratic Reps. Bush administration's claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.[19]

On March 26, 2008, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, an official of a State Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for the group to travel to Iraq.[20]

2008 presidential election

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Thompson endorsed former U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York) for President; his district, however, was narrowly won by Barack Obama.

Environmental issues

The League of Conservation Voters publishes the National Environmental Scorecard for each session of Congress which rates how members voted on key energy and environmental issues. Mike Thompson was rated 92% (with 100% being the highest possible rating) for the 2nd session of the 110th Congress. His LCV Scorecard ratings have been at 90% or above for every session of Congress since 2001.

Thompson was endorsed for re-election in 2008 by the Humane USA PAC, a political action committee founded by leaders of animal rights groups such as The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, the Animal Welfare Institute, Farm Sanctuary and The Ark Trust.[21]

Thompson has an 88% lifetime rating from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which endorsed him for re-election in 2008.[22] This organization is the Defenders of Wildlife.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Thompson for re-election in 2010.[23]

In March 2012, Thompson, along with Assemblyman Jarred Huffman, voiced his opposition to a piece of water legislation that the House would be voting on, which he argued would "kill local jobs, ignore 20 years of established science and overturn a century of California water law."[24]

Thompson voted for President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative,[25] which some environmentalists saw as a preference to the timber industry.[26] He has disappointed some environmentalists with votes against limits to new commercial logging roads in Alaska's Tongass National Forest[27] and against limits to hunting bears over bait.[28][29] He was also one of only 30 Democrats to vote against an amendment to maintain roadless areas protected under the Roadless Rule.[30] Thompson received an A+ rating for his 100% voting record from the American Wilderness Coalition in 2004.[31]

While a California state senator, Thompson helped defeat legislation to halt the use of dogs in hunting of black bears[32] and co-authored and voted for a bill (SB 28) to resume trophy hunting of hunting lobbyist group Safari Club International; he received the Hunting Heritage Award from the same group.[34]

Thompson is an active member and former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus,[35][36] and is a lifelong hunter and fisherman.[37]

Committee assignments

photo of Congressman Mike Thompson in 2010
Mike Thompson in 2010


  • Co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus

Electoral history

California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 1998[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson 121,713 61.84
Republican Mark C. Luce 64,692 32.87
Libertarian Emil P. Rossi 5,404 2.75
Peace and Freedom Ernest K. Jones, Jr. 4,996 2.54
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2000[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 155,638 65.03
Republican Russel J. "Jim" Chase 66,987 27.99
Natural Law Cheryl Kreier 7,173 3.00
Libertarian Emil P. Rossi 6,376 2.66
Reform Pamela Elizondo 3,161 1.32
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2002[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 118,669 64.07
Republican Lawrence R. Wiesner 60,013 32.40
Libertarian Kevin Bastian 6,534 3.53
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2004[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 189,366 66.92
Republican Lawrence R. Wiesner 79,970 28.26
Green Pamela Elizondo 13,635 4.82
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2006[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 144,409 66.23
Republican John W. Jones 63,194 28.98
Green Pamela Elizondo 6,899 3.16
Peace and Freedom Timothy J.Stock 3,503 1.61
Independent Carol Wolman 39 (write-in) 0.02
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2008[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 197,812 68.10
Republican Zane Starkewolf 67,853 23.36
Green Carol Wolman 24,793 8.54
Green Pamela Elizondo 14 (write-in) 0.01
California's 1st Congressional District House Election, 2010[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 147,307 62.79
Republican Loren Hanks 72,803 31.03
Green Carol Wolman 8,486 3.62
Libertarian Mike Rodrigues 5,996 2.56
California's 5th Congressional District House Election, 2012[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Thompson* 202,872 74.5
Republican Randy Loftin 69,545 25.5

Personal life

He is married to Janet Thompson and has two sons and two grandchildren.


  1. ^ "Representative Michael 'Mike' C. Thompson's Biography". Project Vote Smart. One Common Ground. 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda.  
  3. ^ According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at
  4. ^ a b c "Representative Michael C. 'Mike' Thompson (CA)".  
  5. ^ The Washington Post 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Thompson Honored for His Dedication to Veterans". Office of Congressman Mike Thompson. 2008-04-03. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  8. ^ "Is Nielsen fudging again?".  
  9. ^ "Semi-super Tuesday".  
  10. ^ "Statement of Vote - General Election November 6, 1990" (PDF).   Under "Fourth Senatorial District" on 40th page of this PDF file.
  11. ^ "Statement of Vote - November 8, 1994 General Election" (PDF).   Under "2nd State Senate District" on 69th page of this PDF file.
  12. ^ Ken Rudin (1998-11-02). "Political Junkie".  
  13. ^ "Rep. Michael "Mike" Thompson".  
  14. ^ "Mike Thompson (D)". The U.S. Congress Votes Database ( 
  15. ^ a b "Legislators protest communion recommendation".  
  16. ^ "House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principles". Office of Congresswoman  
  17. ^ Cardinal  
  18. ^ Thompson, Mike (10 June 2009). "Health Care Can't Wait".  
  19. ^ Matt Apuzzo ( 
  20. ^ David Postman (2008-03-28). "The story behind McDermott's controversial Iraq trip".  
  21. ^ "Humane USA 2008 Endorsements". Washington, DC: Humane USA PAC. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  22. ^ "DEefenders of Wildlife Action Fund announces 2008 endorsements". Washington, DC: Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  23. ^ "2010 Endorsements". San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  24. ^ "GUEST OPINION: House bill would turn back environmental law clock 20 years". The Press Democrat. 
  25. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 656".   The vote on H.R. 1904.
  26. ^ "Transition talk: Interior motives". The Westerner. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  27. ^ "Tongass Protections".  
  28. ^ "Bear Baiting Amendment Defeated On House Floor". 2003-07-18. Retrieved 2008-12-19.  The vote (Roll Call 382) was on an amendment to a Department of the Interior funding bill (H.AMDT.263 to H.R.2691) to prohibit any funding to administer any action related to the baiting of bears except to prevent or prohibit such activity. To display the  
  29. ^ "Anti-Bear Hunting Bill Withdrawn from Resources Committee". Weekly News: Fishery News of the Great Lakes Basin. Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council. July 21, 2003. Retrieved 2008-12-17. Congress specifically and repeatedly has affirmed the states' rights to manage non-migratory wildlife, including on most federal lands except for National Parks. H.R. 1472 would have preempted these rights and removed science and professional wildlife management as a cornerstone of America's successful wildlife management program. 
  30. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 149".   The vote on H.R. 4200.
  31. ^ "Wild Card: Wilderness Report Card 2004" (PDF). Durango, CO & Washington, DC: American Wilderness Coalition. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  32. ^ "Official California Legislative Information - Bill Information".   Regarding California SB 67.
  33. ^ a b "Official California Legislative Information - Bill Information".   Regarding California SB 28.
  34. ^ "SCI Recognize Federal Legislator and Heritage Award Winners at 2008 Convention". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  35. ^ "Power Trips - Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation".  
  36. ^ "Rep. Mike Thompson Biography". Congressional office of Rep. Mike Thompson. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  37. ^ "Special Report: A Sportsman in Charge".  
  38. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 3, 1998," (retrieved on July 30th, 2009).
  39. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress, (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  40. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  41. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  42. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  43. ^ a b c Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).

External links

California Senate
Preceded by
Barry Keene
California State Senator, 2nd District
Succeeded by
Wesley Chesbro
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frank Riggs
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Doug LaMalfa
Preceded by
Doris Matsui
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Mike Simpson
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Greg Walden
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