Editorial Applauding State and Congressional Leaders' Lake County Focus

Editorial Applauding State and Congressional Leaders’ Lake County Focus

A champion is someone who stands up for rural places like Lake County and their distinctive cultural and economic characteristics. This is particularly true at this time when political stakes appear to be the highest and most volatile in years.

That’s why we’re endorsing State Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, and Congressman Mike Thompson for reelection. When acting independently or jointly, these three leaders have tenaciously defended Lake County, especially after a decade of natural catastrophes and recovery efforts.

They’ve consistently looked for ways to help us pick ourselves up and get back on our feet, whether it was facilitating the rebuild in Anderson Springs, which McGuire skillfully coordinated against what seemed to be insurmountable odds; finding state funding for the Middle Creek Restoration Project; Aguiar-Curry; or getting federal disaster assistance; Thompson. That is merely a small sample.

The legislative Energizer Bunny McGuire, who is now the majority leader of the California Senate, has been instrumental in supporting Lake County as it has been hit by fires, floods, and now COVID. As the proud and active parents of young Connor, he and his wife Erika are now (shout out to the “Corn Dog,” as he is nicknamed).

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Aguiar-Curry has consistently demonstrated a sincere desire to see Lake County flourish. He was up in the Sacramento Valley and is always cognizant of the value of the land and its preservation. She is dependable, tenacious, and encouraging. This page cannot adequately list all of their contributions to Lake County.

But it’s impossible not to be positive when you have friends like them, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they continue to collaborate with Lake County in the years to come. We pledge our fervent support for them.

standing for a “new” district

Thompson is vying to represent the newly created Congressional District 4 at the federal level in the November election. Thompson, who was the first Vietnam War veteran to hold a position in the California Legislature, has been a steadfast and effective supporter of veterans, particularly those affected by Project SHAD, a 1960s experiment that resulted in years of debilitating illnesses for those exposed to dangerous chemicals. In actuality, it was thanks to his efforts that we first became aware of that problem.

A Veterans Affairs clinic was finally established in Lake County thanks in large part to him. The clinic, which opened in 2010, had been in the works for more than a decade and probably would not have ever been realised if Thompson’s persistent campaigning had not been in place. In a county with one of the highest per capita veteran populations in the state—8% as of the most recent count—that clinic has been a success.

Thompson would not have it then, during the administration of George W. Bush, when there was a genuine push to privatise Social Security. To explain the proposal, which would have left the safety net for millions of seniors at the whim of the stock market, he held a remarkable town hall on a Saturday in Lake County. Looking back, it is clear that the plan would have been exactly as devastating as Thompson had predicted.

Whether it was money for the 2002 attempt to restore the Kelseyville Senior Center or the Full Circle project, Thompson has played a significant part in many other significant projects in Lake County over the years. It’s crucial to keep all of those prior successes in mind. A track record is created.

Thompson previously served as a congressman for a district that encompassed the entirety of Lake County. However, Lake County was divided between Congressman John Garamendi and Thompson in the redistricting process that followed the 2010 Census, with Garamendi representing parts of the Sacramento Valley and the northern half of Lake County while Thompson represented the southern half of the county as part of Congressional District 5.

New lines have been drawn as a result of the 2020 Census. Leaders and residents of Lake County pushed for the county to be placed back in one congressional district, and that is what happened. The 2020 California Citizens Redistricting Commission completed its work in December, which includes redistricting the state’s 4th Congressional District to encompass the entirety of Lake County as well as slivers of Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

When Lake County has divided ten years ago, Thompson had sworn to defend the entirety of the county, and from what we can tell, he fulfilled his word. As an indication, Thompson has been working on countywide projects even before the new district lines go into force. He has already gotten $3 million in federal money for the city of Clearlake’s new leisure centre project.

Thompson has worked hard to ensure Lake County has received the funding it needs to make crucial improvements in infrastructure and services, even before the significant sums of money made available in recent years in response to the coronavirus. Additionally, he was there to assist county officials in their response to the pandemic.

Thompson is still taking initiative. Thompson contacted the city of Clearlake about the new recreation centre idea earlier this year, months before reentering the Clearlake region into his service area. Another genuinely transformative initiative is being undertaken by Clearlake, and Thompson has included financing for it in the government budget.

Then there was the Kelseyville Safe Routes to School initiative, which, largely to Thompson’s efforts, was awarded that same crucial federal funding this spring. Important sidewalk upgrades are being made as part of that project along Konocti Road to ensure that kids arrive at school safely.

Along with Garamendi, they have teamed up to ask President Joe Biden to include the Walker Ridge region in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Legislation to increase the monument was introduced by Garamendi and Sen. Alex Padilla. The monument was established by President Barack Obama in 2015 after Thompson had submitted the original law.

The most recent initiative will restore the traditional name of Walker Ridge, Molok Luyuk, which in Patwin, the language of the Yocha Dehe Wintun people, means “Condor Ridge.” These are neither egotistical nor pointless “pork” enterprises. They are significant and concerned with community development, safety, and the actual needs of the neighbourhood. Successful ones that have already been finished continue to benefit Lake County.

Thompson has also offered to speak on significant circumstances at the federal level. He and his team stayed in touch with Lake County News and other media on January 6, 2021, while they were still taking cover as the bloody uprising at the US Capitol took place to inform their constituents of what was happening.

It was difficult to understand what exactly was going on, but Thompson knew what was happening—it was an insurrection—then as well as now. He wanted people to be aware of what was going on in the field, and we are still appreciative of his willingness to make himself available amid such intense stress and total anarchy.

We believe Thompson has rightfully championed several other issues, such as modernising and expanding health care and the efforts to make it truly accessible for everyone, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, maintaining Social Security’s protection, and promoting better infrastructure and community recovery.

We request that he pay attention to a few key problems as he gets ready to publicly serve Lake County once more. Our main suggestion to him is to safeguard Lake Pillsbury. It is absurd given Lake Pillsbury’s location in Lake County that most plans to dismantle the Scott Dam have been developed without Lake County’s input.

This seems to be a water grab on the part of other interests, masked as what’s best for fish. The best alternative, however, avoids putting people against fish in a zero-sum game approach and instead maintains the dam while improving fish passage choices.

Lake Pillsbury and other reservoirs are essential for preventing wildfires. Lake Pillsbury served as a crucial water source in the battles against the Mendocino and August complexes, which ravaged the forest. Additionally, Thompson’s continuous assistance will be necessary if Lake County’s county officials and state lawmakers are to complete the Middle Creek Restoration Project.

This long-running project will restore 1,650 acres of wetland to enhance lake health and lower the risk of flooding. However, thanks to Aguiar-Curry, McGuire, and Thompson, it now seems likely that the project will be finished. Additionally, there is the unsettling issue of the levees in Upper Lake, where locals worry that their current state could lead to a breach and a catastrophic flood.

It looks like the federal Natural Resources Conservation Services could provide the cash necessary to complete the necessary levee modifications. We feel Thompson’s assistance will be essential in collecting the funding necessary to preserve that historic community and protect its citizens once the county of Lake decides on the alternative it will pursue the levees.

In addition, we predict that Thompson will need to support a great deal more causes, including broadband, historic preservation, maintaining the expansion of health care, and providing additional assistance to veterans and their families. We are convinced that Mike Thompson will remain a steadfast supporter of Lake County and a friend in all of those regards. We support him as a result.