Saturday, 22 June 2024

Thompson visits Lake County for annual ravioli feed

Congressman Mike Thompson and wife, Jan, during his talk at the Saturday evening ravioli feed. Photo by John Jensen.


LAKEPORT – This weekend Congressman Mike Thompson once again donned his red apron and – in a nod to his Italian heritage – cooked up and served huge amounts of pasta to host one of the community's largest annual dinners.

The annual ravioli feed, hosted by Thompson and wife Jan at the Lake County Fairgrounds Saturday evening, drew hundreds of residents from around Lake County and across parties in a gathering that has continued to grow larger over the last few years, according to organizers.

Several local elected officials – including Supervisors Jeff Smith, Ed Robey and Denise Rushing, Clearlake Council member Joyce Overton, Assembly hopeful Wes Chesbro and former supervisor, Gary Lewis – joined Thompson to serve up dinner, while Public Nuisance provided the music.

Appreciation for wine was a theme of the evening. More than 20 local wineries poured their product, and Thompson's talk to the crowd touched on the region's growing reputation for wines.

“Lake County is there,” said Thompson. “They are top of the list.”

He added that local wine producers “make it very easy for me to promote a good product.”

Turning to matters in Congress, Thompson said the nation shouldn't put its children in debt. He pointed to bad policies adopted by the administration and the last Congress which continued bad fiscal policy.

For those reasons Thompson said the House of Representative has adopted “pay-go” rules, that, with some exceptions, require the house to only pass legislation that it can pay for. The Senate has yet to adopt those rules, he added, but they're necessary to improve fiscal responsibility and manage debt.

Thompson, a Vietnam veteran who was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his efforts on behalf of fellow vets from the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 951 before the dinner started, said this Congress has raised funding for the Veterans Administration to its highest levels ever.

That action was necessary, he said, because the growing veterans community has tremendous needs.

Thompson also touched on other issues, including Congress' passage of the most aggressive energy policy ever, increases in funding for education and the road ahead.

Millions of new voters are coming out to participate in the process of electing new leadership, said Thompson.

“People really want to change the direction of this country,” he said. “I'm looking forward to doing that with your help.”

He adding, “I'm glad that we're in this together.”

The Saturday event – with its relaxed, casual atmosphere – was likely a welcome respite for Thompson, who has been under scrutiny since last week in the wake of an Associated Press report that a trip he and two fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives took to Iraq in 2002 was secretly financed by Saddam Hussein's intelligence agency.

Thompson and his fellow lawmakers aren't being accused of any wrongdoing, especially since the trip was approved by the State Department.

The congressman took the trip so they could see for themselves the situation in the country prior to the US launching its war on Iraq.

Thompson ultimately voted against entry into the Iraq war.

His annual visit to Lake County also came at a time when he's in the midst of a campaign for reelection.

The field of candidates this year for Thompson's First Congressional District seat include Mitch Clogg, Democrat, Mendocino; Doug Pharr, Republican, Napa; Zane Starkewolf, Republican, Davis; and Carol Wolman, Green, Mendocino, according to the California Secretary of State's Office.

He said his challengers are accusing him of either being too far to the right or too far to the left.

“I'm right back where I've always been – in the middle, working with both sides,” he said, earning a round of applause.

Thompson said he's looking forward to continuing to work with his Lake County constituents for a long time to come.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Hundreds of county residents filled the hall at the Lake County Fairgrounds Saturday. Photo by John Jensen.



Upcoming Calendar

06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
Independence Day
07.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.09.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park

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