LAKE COUNTY >> U.S. Representative Mike Thompson visited Lake County on Thursday, holding several public meetings and conversing with residents about topics of interest. This comes after several members of congress abandoned town hall gatherings due to public anger.
Thompson spoke with City of Hope representatives at the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, then made his way to the Lake County Courthouse in Lakeport for “Coffee with our Congressman.” His busy agenda concluded at an evening town hall in Middletown, accompanied by the Middletown Area Town Hall advisory group and District 1 Supervisor Moke Simon. Over 50 people showed up at the public meeting.
One of the Congressman’s more lengthy discussions was on the topic of healthcare. With the current administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Thompson shared the Congressional Budget’s office analysis stating that if a repeal took place, around 45 million people would lose their healthcare.
“We need to figure out how both sides of the political spectrum can come together and work on the ACA … and expand it to bring more people to quality healthcare,” he said.
Thompson added that he would like to see some form of single-payer healthcare. When discussing the rise of insurance pricing, Thompson said it is important to lose advertising in medical prescriptions.
Tax revenue came in second in Thompson’s set of topics he shared in Lakeport and Middletown. He said that this topic alone is important when considering the survival of the middle class. Thompson shared that he will not vote for a tax cut that is not paid for and said there are three things tax reform needs to be: bipartisan paid for, and revenue neutral. “It should not be a giveaway to the riches people in the country, especially at the expense of the middle class,” he said.
North Korea’s threats to U.S. territory is currently one of the most critical conversations in D.C.
“The last thing we need is any war. We need to work overtime,” he said.
A member of the public asked what steps could citizens take to get engaged and be prepared. He answered that the public should speak up, organize themselves, contact their government offices, and write letters to their local paper’s editors.
When it comes to gun violence, Thompson believes the best way to address the issue is to expand austere background checks as there are several states that do not require background checks at the purchase of a weapon. Currently in Congress are two bills that would challenge these efforts. The first is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow anyone with a valid permit to carry in all 50 states. The second is the Hearing Protection Act of 2017, allowing for the over-the-counter sale of silencers. Thompson said he is both against these bills.
When the time for questions was opened to the public, Middletown resident Marlene Elder asked if there was anything on the federal level that could be done for Clear Lake to “ be more enjoyable once again.”
Thompson said he has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to weigh in on its current conditions. Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, District 4 Assemblywoman, has created a committee with state experts to provide technical assistance. Thompson has asked U.S. Department of Agriculture experts to join the committee.
Other topics of discussion during his visit were farm worker rights, infrastructure, and immigration.