As part of a larger listening tour, Representative Thompson and his staff held two events in Davis last week
By CHRIS PONCE — firstname.lastname@example.org
On Feb. 14, Rep. Mike Thompson and both his California- and Washington-based staff hosted two events in Davis to connect with the local community. The first event was held on campus and the second was at the Davis Veterans Memorial Center. Neither of the events was open for the general public to attend, but university leaders, community members and members of the press were invited.
These events were a part of Rep. Thompson’s “listening tour” during which the congressperson visited communities throughout the district, including Dixon, Vacaville and Woodland. Thompson previously represented California’s 5th Congressional District, which did not include Davis and these surrounding areas, but now represents California’s newly drawn 4th Congressional District following the 2020 census which includes the city of Davis and Yolo County. At the start of the second Davis event, Thompson expressed the purpose of the event and how he hoped it would help build bridges throughout the community.
“It’s been fantastic, all of the communities we’ve visited are extremely participatory, they’re glad we’re doing this,” Thompson said. “You can see right here how people are meeting with the staff, they figured out which staffer works on their issue […] [and are] introducing themselves. I think it’s going to be very beneficial to their district and to my office.”
During the event on campus, Thompson said that he was grateful to meet so many new people and reconnect with some people he has worked with before in the UC Davis community.
“There were professors and deans that I had worked with over the course of the last 10 years,” Thompson said. “Even though Davis wasn’t in my district, we worked on issues like tax policy, [agricultural] issues and things of that nature.”
Jack Stelzner, the communications director for Thompson’s Washington office, described the effort that was put into the events, which took “non-stop” work from the staff. Moreover, he described the events and addressed common questions and concerns.
“I would say that [for] the first half we’ve been in the new areas, so the Northern Solano County and Yolo [County], both of which are more agricultural focused,” Stelzner said. “Water’s been a huge topic. Same thing with just disaster relief — so wildfires, droughts, floods [and] the work we’re able to do with that. In general, we’ve been hearing about people interested in D.C., so we’ve had some questions about how we’re going to get stuff done under the Republican majority.”
Sergio Bocardo, a third-year student and the assistant director of the Pantry at UC Davis, inquired about Thompson’s ideas regarding the issue of food insecurity and CalFresh during the event.
“At the Pantry, we work a lot in serving students and making sure they have food on the table. Particularly there’s a bill coming up called the ‘Farm Bill.’ And the Farm Bill’s a bill where they focus a lot on agriculture [and] CalFresh,” Bocardo said.
Bocardo also asked Thompson if he would support legislation that would help make the CalFresh application process easier for students by eliminating certain procedures that cause students to drop their applications.
“I think his answer was mediocre at best,” Bocardo said. “He talked about supporting those things but the big issue is, a lot of people have been talking about supporting these things all the time but it’s whether he’s going to get the members of Congress to do it. That’s the real thing: how much influence is he going to have to make these changes?”
Oliver Snow, a recent UC Davis alumn and assistant deputy for the Yolo County Supervisor Jim Provenza talked about his impression of the event at Davis Veterans Memorial Center..
“I thought it was great,” Snow said. “I appreciate how much [Thompson] was invested in the district and visiting the district, so I’m excited to have him here and [am] excited to work with him.”
At both events, Thompson also discussed the divisive tensions in the federal government following the recent State of the Union address. He said that despite these polarized times, he has a lot of hope.
“We’ve had divisive times in the past and we’ve got through all of them,” Thompson said. “America is very resilient and the American people are incredible. We’re going to get through this tough spot too.”
Written By: Chris Ponce — email@example.com