Congressman Mike Thompson for Secretary of Interior?

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The Associated Press is reporting that two California Democratic Congressional leaders, George Miller and Anna Eshoo, sent a letter to President-elect Obama urging them to consider Congressman Mike Thompson for the Secretary of Interior.

Miller’s chief of staff, Danny Weiss said:

“They believe that he would make an excellent secretary, has a broad base of support and knows the issues very well, both from the environmental side and the natural resources side, and they encouraged the transition team to consider him strongly.”

According to the Associated Press:

“Nearly three dozen sportsmen’s groups, including Ducks Unlimited and Wildlife Forever, also sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team supporting Thompson.

Thompson backers are heartened by comments Obama made in an interview with Field & Stream magazine in September. He said his Interior secretary probably would be a sportsman or sportswoman.

“I think that having a head of the Department of Interior who doesn’t understand hunting and fishing would be a problem,” the magazine quoted Obama as saying.”

It continues:

Thompson, 57, won re-election in November and will start his sixth term in January. He serves on the Ways and Means and Intelligence committees, and co-founded the Wine Caucus when he arrived in Congress in 1999.

He is an avid hunter and has pushed legislation and disaster relief on behalf of salmon fishermen in Northern California.

In a statement Thursday, Thompson said, “It’s an honor to be recognized by the many groups I’ve worked with over the years, but no one associated with President-elect Obama has contacted me.”

This has opened the speculation already on places such as Matt Rexroad’s blog, as to who possible replacements would be in a district that includes seven counties stretch from Yolo in the Southeast each through Napa and Sonoma all the way to Humboldt and Del Norte counties up at the Oregon border.

Some possibilities include former State Senator Wes Chesbro, current State Senator Pat Wiggins, both of whom serve(d) the 2nd Senate District which covers the northern coastal portion of the 1st Congressional District.

Among locals names such as Senator-elect Lois Wolk, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mike McGowan, Assemblywoman-elect Mariko Yamada, and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

As Rexroad points out, Yolo County does have more people and more Democrats in the 1st Congressional District than any other county. On the other hand, it is in the southeastern extreme portion of the county and there are members of the legislature better situation. Both Yamada and Wolk were just now elected. I think this is Chesbro or Wiggins’ to lose if they want it, but of course, Mike Thompson would have to be offered and accept the job.

Mike Thompson somewhat fits the profile, although usually you see a Western Senator or Governor get the offer. The Democrats find themselves with a number of pretty good candidates with some of the more populist western governorships they now hold. Of course, do they want to give up those positions? Already, we have seen Obama offer Arizona Governor Napolitano the Secretary of Homeland Security, a position she has reportedly accepted. Would he dip into that well for a Brian Schweitzer (Governor of Montana) or a Bill Ritter (Governor of Colorado)? Thompson has the advantage of being from a safe seat which is nearly three-quarters Democrat.

This pick does give a bit of local intrigue to the race for the second time this week, as UC Davis law professor emeritus and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso was named as part of a search team.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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56 thoughts on “Congressman Mike Thompson for Secretary of Interior?”

  1. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way he could make it through confirmation.”

    Who is going to stop him? The one-third of Congress which is Republican?

    Unless an Obama nominee is under indictment for a serious crime, he will be confirmed.

    I’d like to see Cabaldon go for our congressional seat, if Thompson leaves. Helen Thomson would be a good choice, too, as would Lois Wolk. But chances are, as you say, David, we are far from the center of gravity in the 1st CD, and therefore the new person will more likely come from Napa or Sonoma County.

    Also, after the 2010 census, we are probably going to be redistricted out of the 1st district. If so, I hope our new district is more Yolo-Sacramento-Solano in nature than Crescent City-Mendocino.

  2. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way he could make it through confirmation.”

    Who is going to stop him? The one-third of Congress which is Republican?

    Unless an Obama nominee is under indictment for a serious crime, he will be confirmed.

    I’d like to see Cabaldon go for our congressional seat, if Thompson leaves. Helen Thomson would be a good choice, too, as would Lois Wolk. But chances are, as you say, David, we are far from the center of gravity in the 1st CD, and therefore the new person will more likely come from Napa or Sonoma County.

    Also, after the 2010 census, we are probably going to be redistricted out of the 1st district. If so, I hope our new district is more Yolo-Sacramento-Solano in nature than Crescent City-Mendocino.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way he could make it through confirmation.”

    Who is going to stop him? The one-third of Congress which is Republican?

    Unless an Obama nominee is under indictment for a serious crime, he will be confirmed.

    I’d like to see Cabaldon go for our congressional seat, if Thompson leaves. Helen Thomson would be a good choice, too, as would Lois Wolk. But chances are, as you say, David, we are far from the center of gravity in the 1st CD, and therefore the new person will more likely come from Napa or Sonoma County.

    Also, after the 2010 census, we are probably going to be redistricted out of the 1st district. If so, I hope our new district is more Yolo-Sacramento-Solano in nature than Crescent City-Mendocino.

  4. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way he could make it through confirmation.”

    Who is going to stop him? The one-third of Congress which is Republican?

    Unless an Obama nominee is under indictment for a serious crime, he will be confirmed.

    I’d like to see Cabaldon go for our congressional seat, if Thompson leaves. Helen Thomson would be a good choice, too, as would Lois Wolk. But chances are, as you say, David, we are far from the center of gravity in the 1st CD, and therefore the new person will more likely come from Napa or Sonoma County.

    Also, after the 2010 census, we are probably going to be redistricted out of the 1st district. If so, I hope our new district is more Yolo-Sacramento-Solano in nature than Crescent City-Mendocino.

  5. Johnny

    These are the leading candidates for Sec of Interior, according to the AP:

    Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
    Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles.
    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., former executive director of Colorado Natural Resources Department.

  6. Johnny

    These are the leading candidates for Sec of Interior, according to the AP:

    Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
    Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles.
    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., former executive director of Colorado Natural Resources Department.

  7. Johnny

    These are the leading candidates for Sec of Interior, according to the AP:

    Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
    Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles.
    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., former executive director of Colorado Natural Resources Department.

  8. Johnny

    These are the leading candidates for Sec of Interior, according to the AP:

    Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
    Former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles.
    Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., former executive director of Colorado Natural Resources Department.

  9. Anonymous

    “I heard that “Mike Thompson has been a baad boy…”
    Like in a John Edwards kind of way?”

    I don’t think you got the joke. Has to do with his opponents’ robocall a few weeks ago.

  10. Anonymous

    “I heard that “Mike Thompson has been a baad boy…”
    Like in a John Edwards kind of way?”

    I don’t think you got the joke. Has to do with his opponents’ robocall a few weeks ago.

  11. Anonymous

    “I heard that “Mike Thompson has been a baad boy…”
    Like in a John Edwards kind of way?”

    I don’t think you got the joke. Has to do with his opponents’ robocall a few weeks ago.

  12. Anonymous

    “I heard that “Mike Thompson has been a baad boy…”
    Like in a John Edwards kind of way?”

    I don’t think you got the joke. Has to do with his opponents’ robocall a few weeks ago.

  13. black bart

    Wes Chesbro was elected to the Assembly from the first district on November 4. He would be a great person to represent us in Congress whenver Mike Thompson vacates his seat. There is a problem in that Wes might not be interested in the job should it open.

    Of course you didn’t mention Bruce Wolk who would be a good choice being that he is a tax expert.

  14. black bart

    Wes Chesbro was elected to the Assembly from the first district on November 4. He would be a great person to represent us in Congress whenver Mike Thompson vacates his seat. There is a problem in that Wes might not be interested in the job should it open.

    Of course you didn’t mention Bruce Wolk who would be a good choice being that he is a tax expert.

  15. black bart

    Wes Chesbro was elected to the Assembly from the first district on November 4. He would be a great person to represent us in Congress whenver Mike Thompson vacates his seat. There is a problem in that Wes might not be interested in the job should it open.

    Of course you didn’t mention Bruce Wolk who would be a good choice being that he is a tax expert.

  16. black bart

    Wes Chesbro was elected to the Assembly from the first district on November 4. He would be a great person to represent us in Congress whenver Mike Thompson vacates his seat. There is a problem in that Wes might not be interested in the job should it open.

    Of course you didn’t mention Bruce Wolk who would be a good choice being that he is a tax expert.

  17. Anonymous

    Richardson gets some post out of this – Commerce is higher profile than Interior. BTW, an anonymous hold on a nominee can keep them from confirmation. That is why the BIA post is currently empty, for one.

  18. Anonymous

    Richardson gets some post out of this – Commerce is higher profile than Interior. BTW, an anonymous hold on a nominee can keep them from confirmation. That is why the BIA post is currently empty, for one.

  19. Anonymous

    Richardson gets some post out of this – Commerce is higher profile than Interior. BTW, an anonymous hold on a nominee can keep them from confirmation. That is why the BIA post is currently empty, for one.

  20. Anonymous

    Richardson gets some post out of this – Commerce is higher profile than Interior. BTW, an anonymous hold on a nominee can keep them from confirmation. That is why the BIA post is currently empty, for one.

  21. Rich Rifkin

    “i’ve heard rumor that interior might go to raul grijalva, a congressman from tuscon.”

    Grijalva is a left-winger. He is the co-chair of the “progressive caucus” and has been an outspoken advocate for illegal aliens. All of the announced Obama picks so far seem to be moderates. Yet at least half of Obama’s votes and support come from the left. So surely the president will have to appoint some lefties to his cabinet. Grijalva would be a good choice. However, I’m not sure why Interior would be a good fit for him. Unless Obama strongly disagrees with Grijalva on immigration, I would think INS or Labor would be a more natural fit.

    FWIW, Grijalva has been a big opponent of oil and gas exploration on public lands. That may be admirable, from an environmental point of view. However, it seems likely moving forward that we will drill more on public lands — run by the DOI — in a short-term effort to reduce our oil imports.

  22. Rich Rifkin

    “i’ve heard rumor that interior might go to raul grijalva, a congressman from tuscon.”

    Grijalva is a left-winger. He is the co-chair of the “progressive caucus” and has been an outspoken advocate for illegal aliens. All of the announced Obama picks so far seem to be moderates. Yet at least half of Obama’s votes and support come from the left. So surely the president will have to appoint some lefties to his cabinet. Grijalva would be a good choice. However, I’m not sure why Interior would be a good fit for him. Unless Obama strongly disagrees with Grijalva on immigration, I would think INS or Labor would be a more natural fit.

    FWIW, Grijalva has been a big opponent of oil and gas exploration on public lands. That may be admirable, from an environmental point of view. However, it seems likely moving forward that we will drill more on public lands — run by the DOI — in a short-term effort to reduce our oil imports.

  23. Rich Rifkin

    “i’ve heard rumor that interior might go to raul grijalva, a congressman from tuscon.”

    Grijalva is a left-winger. He is the co-chair of the “progressive caucus” and has been an outspoken advocate for illegal aliens. All of the announced Obama picks so far seem to be moderates. Yet at least half of Obama’s votes and support come from the left. So surely the president will have to appoint some lefties to his cabinet. Grijalva would be a good choice. However, I’m not sure why Interior would be a good fit for him. Unless Obama strongly disagrees with Grijalva on immigration, I would think INS or Labor would be a more natural fit.

    FWIW, Grijalva has been a big opponent of oil and gas exploration on public lands. That may be admirable, from an environmental point of view. However, it seems likely moving forward that we will drill more on public lands — run by the DOI — in a short-term effort to reduce our oil imports.

  24. Rich Rifkin

    “i’ve heard rumor that interior might go to raul grijalva, a congressman from tuscon.”

    Grijalva is a left-winger. He is the co-chair of the “progressive caucus” and has been an outspoken advocate for illegal aliens. All of the announced Obama picks so far seem to be moderates. Yet at least half of Obama’s votes and support come from the left. So surely the president will have to appoint some lefties to his cabinet. Grijalva would be a good choice. However, I’m not sure why Interior would be a good fit for him. Unless Obama strongly disagrees with Grijalva on immigration, I would think INS or Labor would be a more natural fit.

    FWIW, Grijalva has been a big opponent of oil and gas exploration on public lands. That may be admirable, from an environmental point of view. However, it seems likely moving forward that we will drill more on public lands — run by the DOI — in a short-term effort to reduce our oil imports.

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