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Mike Thompson

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 1st district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1999
Preceded by Frank Riggs

California State Senator
from the 2nd district
In office
Preceded by Barry Keene
Succeeded by Wesley Chesbro

Born January 24, 1951 (1951-01-24) (age 59)
St. Helena, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Janet Thompson
Residence St. Helena, California
Alma mater California State University, Chico
Occupation vineyard owner
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1969-1972
Unit 173rd Airborne Brigade
Battles/wars Vietnam War

C. Michael Thompson (born January 24, 1951),[1] American politician, has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1999, representing California's 1st congressional district (map), which includes Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties as well as parts of Yolo and Sonoma Counties.

He was born in St. Helena, California, was educated at California State University, Chico, served in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade[2] United States Army, 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.[1]

He is married to Janet Thompson and has two sons.

He is a Blue Dog Democrat and was previously a member of the New Democrat Coalition.


Elective office

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;[3][4] Thompson's margin of victory was less than 1 percent.[5]

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.[6]

Thompson was approached by National Democrats about running for congress in 1996, but he declined, believing his senate seniority would be more beneficial to his district than would his being a freshman congressman. In 1998, National Democrats successfully recruited Thompson to run for the congressional seat of incumbent Republican Frank Riggs. Thompson was so well known and respected in the area that Riggs opted not to seek reelection after all, believing Thompson was unbeatable.[7] Thompson easily won election and has had little trouble holding his seat.

Environmental record

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. [8]

Thompson has an 88% lifetime rating from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which endorsed him for re-election in 2008. [9] This organization is the 501(c)(4) sister organization of Defenders of Wildlife.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Thompson for re-election in 2010. [10]

Thompson voted for President Bush's controversial Healthy Forests Initiative,[11] which some environmentalists saw as an inordinate gift to the timber industry.[12] He has disappointed some environmentalists with votes against limits to new commercial logging roads in Alaska's Tongass National Forest[13] and against limits to hunting bears over bait.[14][15] He was also one of only 30 Democrats to vote against an amendment to maintain roadless areas protected under the Roadless Rule.[16] Thompson received an A+ rating for his 100% voting record from the American Wilderness Coalition in 2004. [17]

While a California state senator, Thompson helped defeat legislation to halt the use of dogs in hunting of black bears[18] and co-authored and voted for a bill (SB 28) to resume trophy hunting of cougars.[19] SB 28 would have undone provisions of California Proposition 117 (the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990) which had been approved by the voters in the statewide election held on June 5, 1990, that provided some protection for cougars.[19] Thompson was the House sponsor of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Thompson was recognized as Federal Legislator of the Year by the hunting lobbyist group Safari Club International; he received the Hunting Heritage Award from the same group.[20]

Thompson is an active member and former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus,[21][22] and is a lifelong hunter and fisherman.[23]

Other legislative history

Though Thompson is a Roman Catholic,[1] he is staunchly 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.[24] 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."[24] In February 2006, Thompson was one of 55 Democratic Representatives who were Catholic who signed a "Statement of Principles," which affirmed a commitment to their faith, but said that they disagreed with their church on some issues. They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they would follow their conscience instead of their church's teachings.[25] 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."[26]

In late 2002, Thompson joined Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan on a fact-finding trip to Iraq. During the trip, the lawmakers spoke to officials in Baghdad and residents in Basra. Presciently, they expressed skepticism about the Bush administration's claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.[27]

On March 26, 2008, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, an official of a Michigan charity, was accused of underwriting three members of Congress to travel to Iraq, on behalf of Iraqi intelligence officials. McDermott's office was already organizing the trip when the charity offered to pay trip expenses. McDermott's spokesman stated that the charity was fully vetted by the U.S. government. He also stated that the congressmen obtained a license from the State Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for the group to travel to Iraq.[28]

Committee assignments



  • Co-chair of the Congressional Wine Caucus

Electoral History

United States House of Representatives elections, 1998[29]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson 121,713 61.8%
Republican Mark C. Luce 64,692 32.9%
Libertarian Emil P. Rossi 5,404 2.8%
Peace and Freedom Ernest K. Jones, Jr. 4,996 2.5%
Totals 196,805 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic gain from Republican
United States House of Representatives elections, 2000[30]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson (incumbent) 155,638 65.1%
Republican Russel J. "Jim" Chase 66,987 28.0%
Natural Law Cheryl Kreier 7,173 3.0%
Libertarian Emil P. Rossi 6,376 2.6%
Reform Pamela Elizondo 3,161 1.3%
Totals 239,335 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2002[31]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson (incumbent) 118,669 64.1%
Republican Lawrence R. Wiesner 60,013 32.4%
Libertarian Kevin Bastian 6,534 3.5%
Totals 185,216 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2004[32]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson (incumbent) 189,366 67.0%
Republican Lawrence R. Wiesner 79,970 28.2%
Green Pamela Elizondo 13,635 4.8%
Totals 282,971 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2006[33]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson (incumbent) 144,409 66.3%
Republican John W. Jones 63,194 29.0%
Green Pamela Elizondo 6,899 3.1%
Peace and Freedom Timothy J.Stock 3,503 1.6%
Independent Carol Wolman 39 (write-in) 0.0%
Totals 218,044 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2008[34]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Thompson (incumbent) 197,812 68.2%
Republican Zane Starkewolf 67,853 23.3%
Green Carol Wolman 24,793 8.5%
Green Pamela Elizondo 14 (write-in) 0.0%
Totals 290,472 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold


  1. ^ a b c "Representative Michael C. 'Mike' Thompson (CA)". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  2. ^ "Thompson Honored for His Dedication to Veterans". Office of Congressman Mike Thompson. 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  3. ^ "Is Nielsen fudging again?". Chico News & Review. 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  4. ^ "Semi-super Tuesday". Chico News & Review. 2008-05-29. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  5. ^ "Statement of Vote - General Election November 6, 1990". California Secretary of State. 1990-10-09. Retrieved 2008-12-12.  Under "Fourth Senatorial District" on 40th page of this PDF file.
  6. ^ "Statement of Vote - November 8, 1994 General Election". California Secretary of State. 1994-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-12.  Under "2nd State Senate District" on 69th page of this PDF file.
  7. ^ Ken Rudin (1998-11-02). "Political Junkie". Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  8. ^ "Humane USA 2008 Endorsements". Washington, DC: Humane USA PAC. Retrieved 17 January 2010. 
  9. ^ "DEefenders of Wildlife Action Fund announces 2008 endorsements". Washington, DC: Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  10. ^ "2010 Endorsements". San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  11. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 656". U.S. House of Representatives. 2003-11-21. Retrieved 2008-12-11.  The vote on H.R. 1904.
  12. ^ "Transition talk: Interior motives". The Westerner. 2008-12-09. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  13. ^ "Tongass Protections". League of Conservation Voters. 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  14. ^ "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 THOMAS (Library of Congress) links, go to and search for the word "baiting". In the next screen, search for "2691". (2003-07-17). Retrieved on 2008-12-22. "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 382". U.S. House of Representatives. 2003-07-17. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  15. ^ "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 the cornerstone of America's successful wildlife management program." 
  16. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 149". U.S. House of Representatives. 2006-05-17. Retrieved 2008-12-12.  The vote on H.R. 4200.
  17. ^ "Wild Card: Wilderness Report Card 2004". Durango, CO & Washington, DC: American Wilderness Coalition. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "Official California Legislative Information - Bill Information". California State Senate. 1993-05-25. Retrieved 2008-12-12.  Regarding California SB 67.
  19. ^ a b "Official California Legislative Information - Bill Information". California State Senate. 1995-09-15. Retrieved 2008-12-12.  Regarding California SB 28.
  20. ^ "SCI Recognize Federal Legislator and Heritage Award Winners at 2008 Convention". 2008-01-28. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  21. ^ "Power Trips - Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation". American Public Media. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  22. ^ "Rep. Mike Thompson Biography". Congressional office of Rep. Mike Thompson. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  23. ^ "Special Report: A Sportsman in Charge". Field & Stream. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  24. ^ a b "Legislators protest communion recommendation". 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  25. ^ "House Democrats Release Historic Catholic Statement of Principles". Office of Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. 2006-02-28. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  26. ^ Cardinal William H. Keeler, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (2006-03-10). "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  27. ^ Matt Apuzzo (AP) (2008-03-26). "Prosecutors: Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency bankrolled McDermott's prewar trip to Iraq". HeraldNet. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  28. ^ David Postman (2008-03-28). "The story behind McDermott's controversial Iraq trip". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-12-15. 
  29. ^ 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).
  30. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress, (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  31. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  32. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  33. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).
  34. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on July 29th, 2009).

External links

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
California Senate
Preceded by
Barry Keene
California State Senator, 2nd District
Succeeded by
Wesley Chesbro


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