Lake County News, California – Lake County News Editorial: Focus on praising state and congressional leaders

From left, Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Congressman Mike Thompson. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – Rural areas like Lake County need champions, people who don’t overlook small communities or their unique cultural and economic values.

This is especially true now, when the political stakes seem the highest and most volatile in decades.

This leads us to share our support for the re-election of State Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Congressman Mike Thompson.

These three leaders, either alone or working together, vigorously championed Lake County, especially as it endured decades of disaster and rebuilding.

They were constantly there to find ways to help dust us off and get us back on our feet, whether it was facilitating the rebuild at Anderson Springs, which McGuire skillfully coordinated against seemingly overwhelming odds; finding state funding for the Middle Creek Restoration Project, which Aguiar-Curry did in her fight to improve Clear Lake; or getting repeated disaster relief from the federal government that Thompson made possible. This is just a short sample.

McGuire, now California’s Senate Majority Leader, has been a legislative Energizer Bunny, and it’s that seemingly inexhaustible energy that’s been critical in helping Lake County when it’s been hit by fires, floods and now COVID. He and wife Erika are now the proud and busy parents of young Connor (shout out to the “corn dog” as he’s known).

Raised in the Sacramento Valley and always aware of the importance of the land and its preservation, Aguiar-Curry has been an equally reliable champion for Lake County, always showing a genuine interest in seeing it succeed. She is steady, determined and supportive.

Their efforts for Lake County cannot be fully listed here.

But with friends like that, it’s hard not to be optimistic, and we look forward to seeing how they continue to work with Lake County in the years to come. We offer them our enthusiastic support.

To represent the “new” district

At the federal level, Thompson is running to represent the new District 4 on the November ballot.

Thompson, the first Vietnam veteran to serve in the California Legislature, has been a consistent and powerful advocate for veterans, such as advocating for service members affected by Project SHAD, an experiment conducted in the 1960s that left those exposed to harmful chemicals with years of devastating years. diseases. In fact, it was through his efforts that we first became aware of this issue.

He also played a key role in ultimately bringing the Veterans Affairs Clinic to Lake County. The clinic, which opened in 2010, had been on the drawing board for more than a decade and likely never would have become a reality if not for Thompson’s consistent advocacy. The clinic was a triumph in a county with one of the highest per capita veteran populations in the state, at a final count of about 8%.

Going back to George W. Bush’s presidency, when there was a real attempt to privatize Social Security, Thompson would have none of that. He held a memorable town hall Saturday in Lake County to explain a plan that would have put the safety net for millions of seniors at the mercy of the stock market — which hindsight shows would have been just as disastrous as Thompson believed.

Over the years, Thompson has played a key role in many other important projects in Lake County, whether it was funding the 2002 effort to renovate the Kelseyville Senior Center or the Full Circle project.

It is important to remember all those past successes. He sets a track record.

Thompson previously represented a congressional district that included all of Lake County. However, in the redistricting process that followed the 2010 census, Lake County was split between Thompson and Congressman John Garamendi, with Thompson representing the southern half of the county as part of Congressional District 5 and the northern half of Lake County combined with areas of the Sacramento Valley as part. Congressional district 3 under Garamendi.

Now, as a result of the 2020 census, new lines have been drawn. Lake County community leaders and members advocated for the county to be returned to one congressional district, and that’s how it turned out.

In December 2020, the California Citizens’ Redistricting Commission completed its work, which included redrawing the state’s 4th Congressional District to include all of Lake and parts of Napa, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo counties.

Thompson pledged to continue to advocate for all of Lake County even after the county was split 10 years ago, and our observation is that he has kept that promise.

To illustrate: Even before the new county lines go into effect, Thompson is working on countywide projects. It has already received $3 million in federal funding for a new recreation center project in Clearlake.

Even before the large amount of money made available in recent years in response to the coronavirus, Thompson worked hard to make sure Lake County got the resources it needed to make major advances in infrastructure and services. He was also there to support county officials in dealing with the pandemic.

Thompson remains proactive. Earlier this year, long before Clearlake returned to the coverage area, Thompson approached the city of Clearlake about a new recreation center plan. The project is another of the truly transformative projects Clearlake is undertaking, and Thompson included it in the federal budget for key funding.

Then there was Kelseyville’s Safe Routes to Schools project, which received the same critical federal funding this spring thanks to Thompson’s efforts. This project is making key improvements to the sidewalks along Konocti Street to ensure children get to class safely.

He and Garamendi also joined forces to petition President Joe Biden to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include the Walker Ridge area. Garamendi and Senator Alex Padilla introduced legislation to expand the monument. Thompson introduced the original bill to create the monument that President Barack Obama created in 2015.

The latest effort will return the Walker Ridge area to its original name, Molok Luyuk, which means “Condor Ridge” in Patwin, the language of the Yocha Dehe Wintun people.

They are not useless “pork” projects or ego-driven projects. They are meaningful, they are about safety and community building, and about meeting the real needs of the community. Those that have been completed have been successful and continue to contribute to Lake County.

Thompson also made himself available to speak about important situations at the federal level.

On January 6, 2021, while he and his staff were still holed up on site as a violent uprising broke out at the U.S. Capitol, they stayed in touch with the Lake County News and other media outlets to let voters know what was happening.

It was hard to understand what was happening, but then, as now, Thompson was clear about what was happening: It was a rebellion. He wanted people to know what was happening on earth, and we remain grateful that he was willing to make himself available during a time of incredible stress and utter chaos.

There are many other issues that we believe Thompson has rightly championed, including modernizing and expanding health care and jobs to make them truly affordable for all, better prescription drug prices, continued protections for Social Security, and support for better infrastructure and community renewal.

As he prepares to formally represent all of Lake County again, we ask him to keep an eye on some specific issues.

One of the key projects we recommend to him is the protection of Lake Pillsbury. Efforts to remove Scott Dam have largely been formulated without Lake County at the table, which is pointless given that Lake Pillsbury is in Lake County.

It appears to be a question of water being caught by other interests, framed in terms of what is best for the fish. But maintaining the dam while creating better passage options for fish is a more affordable option and ideal because it avoids pitting fish against humans in a zero-sum game.

Reservoirs like Lake Pillsbury are also important for fire protection. In fact, Pillsbury Lake has proven to be a key water source in the battles against the forest-eating Mendocino and August complexes.

Additionally, Lake County legislators and officials will need Thompson’s continued support to get the Middle Creek Restoration Project across the finish line.

This project, which will restore 1,650 acres as a wetland to improve lake health and reduce flood risk, has been decades in the making. However, between Aguiar-Curry, McGuire and Thompson, the final completion of the project seems likely.

There is also the worrisome issue of levees in Upper Lake, where community members fear the condition of the levees could lead to breaches and devastating flooding.

The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service appears to be a potential source of funding for needed levee improvements. Once Lake County decides on the alternative it will pursue for the levee, we believe Thompson’s assistance will be critical in securing funding to preserve this historic community and protect its residents.

Beyond that, we anticipate that there are many other causes that will require Thompson’s support—whether it’s broadband, historic preservation work, continued work to expand health care, or offering more support to veterans and their families.

In all of these things, we are confident that Mike Thompson will continue to be a strong advocate and friend to Lake County. As such, it gets our vote.

The Lake County News editorial board consists of editor and co-publisher Elizabeth Larson and co-publisher and webmaster John Jensen.

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