|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
January 3, 1999
|Constituency||1st district (1999-2013)|
5th district (2013-present)
|Member of the California State Senate|
from the 2nd district
May 20, 1993 - November 30, 1998
|Member of the California State Senate|
from the 4th district
December 3, 1990 - May 20, 1993
Charles Michael Thompson
January 24, 1951
St. Helena, California, U.S.
|Residence||St. Helena, California, U.S.|
Washington D.C., U.S.
|Education||Napa Valley College|
California State University, Chico (BA, MPA)
|Branch/service||United States Army|
|Years of service||1967-1973|
|Unit||173rd Airborne Brigade|
Combat Infantryman Badge
Charles Michael Thompson (born January 24, 1951) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for California's 5th congressional district (formerly known as the California 1st congressional district until 2013) since 1999. The district, located in the outer northern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, includes all of Napa County and portions of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano, and Sonoma counties. Thompson is the Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Thompson was born in St. Helena, California, the son of Beverly Ann (née Forni) and Charles Edward Thompson. His father was of English ancestry and his mother was of Italian and Swiss descent. He was educated at California State University, Chico, served in Vietnam with the United States Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade, was a vineyard owner and maintenance supervisor, taught Public Administration and State Government at San Francisco State University and California State University, Chico, and was a member of the California State Senate before entering the House.
Thompson served as an aide to Democrat Jackie Speier (then a state Assemblywoman) before winning election to the California State Senate in 1990. He very narrowly unseated 4th district Republican incumbent Jim Nielsen after a controversy over Nielsen's primary residence; Thompson's margin of victory was less than 1 percent.
Following the 1992 general election, Democratic state Senator Barry Keene of the neighboring 2nd district resigned. Thompson, whose hometown of St. Helena had shifted from the 4th district and into the 2nd district after reapportionment, decided to run in the 1993 special election for Keene's seat. He narrowly beat Republican businesswoman Margie Handley but easily won reelection in 1994.
Thompson was approached by national Democrats about running for U.S. Congress in 1996 against freshman Republican Frank Riggs. Thompson's state senate district was virtually coextensive with the congressional district. However, Thompson declined, believing his senate seniority would be more beneficial to his district than would his being a freshman U.S. congressman. In 1998, however, Thompson was due to be termed out of the state senate, and opted to run against Riggs after all. Riggs opted to retire and make an unsuccessful bid for United States Senate. Thompson won by almost a 30% margin. He has been reelected ten times with no substantive opposition, and has turned what was a swing district for most of the 1980s and 1990s into a fairly safe Democratic seat.
For his first seven terms, Thompson represented a district stretching from the far northern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area all the way to the North Coast. However, his district was renumbered as the 5th district after the 2010 census and was made somewhat more compact, losing most of its northern portion to the 2nd district.
Thompson is a Blue Dog Democrat and was previously a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He has been labeled as a "moderate Democratic leader". Thompson has taken nearly $2 million each election cycle from corporations including pharmaceuticals, insurance, weapons, banks, tobacco, oil, sugar and real estate. Thompson has voted with the Democratic party 91% of the time. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Thompson endorsed former U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York) for president; his district, however, was narrowly won by Barack Obama.
Thompson is a Roman Catholic, but is pro-choice. In May 2004, he, along with 47 other Catholic Democratic Congressmembers, sent a letter to Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. to dissuade him from refusing to administer Holy Communion to Catholic Congressmembers who practice pro-choice legislative voting. In February 2006, he was one of 55 Democratic U.S. Representatives identifying as Catholic who signed a "Statement of Principles" which affirmed a commitment to their faith but acknowledged opposition to Catholic doctrine on some issues. They stated that on those issues, such as abortion rights, they would follow their conscience instead of the church's teachings. In response, the U.S. Catholic Bishops issued a "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life" that said, in part, "Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring to an end the destruction of unborn human life."
Thompson was endorsed for re-election in 2008 by the Humane USA PAC, a political action committee founded by leaders of animal rights groups such as The Humane Society of the United States, The Fund for Animals, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, the Animal Welfare Institute, Farm Sanctuary and The Ark Trust. Thompson has an 88% lifetime rating from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, which endorsed him for re-election in 2008. This organization is the 501(c)(4) sister organization of Defenders of Wildlife.
While a California state senator, Thompson helped defeat legislation to halt the use of dogs in hunting of black bears and co-authored and voted for a bill (SB 28) to resume trophy hunting of cougars. SB 28 would have undone provisions of California Proposition 117 (the California Wildlife Protection Act of 1990) which had been approved by the voters in the statewide election held on June 5, 1990, that provided some protection for cougars. Thompson was the House sponsor of the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Thompson was recognized as Federal Legislator of the Year by the hunting lobbyist group Safari Club International; he received the Hunting Heritage Award from the same group. He is an active member and former co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and is a lifelong hunter and fisherman.
The League of Conservation Voters publishes the National Environmental Scorecard for each session of Congress which rates how members voted on key energy and environmental issues. Thompson was rated 92% (with 100% being the highest possible rating) for the 2nd session of the 110th Congress. His LCV Scorecard ratings have been at 90% or above for every session of Congress since 2001.
Thompson voted for President Bush's Healthy Forests Initiative, which some environmentalists saw as a preference to the timber industry. He has disappointed some environmentalists with votes against limits to new commercial logging roads in Alaska's Tongass National Forest and against limits to hunting bears over bait. He was also one of only 30 Democrats to vote against an amendment to maintain roadless areas protected under the Roadless Rule. Thompson received an A+ rating for his 100% voting record from the American Wilderness Coalition in 2004.
In March 2012, Thompson, along with Assemblyman Jared Huffman, voiced his opposition to a piece of water legislation that the House would be voting on, which he argued would "kill local jobs, ignore 20 years of established science and overturn a century of California water law."
In late 2002, Thompson joined Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington and David Bonior of Michigan on a fact-finding trip to Iraq. During the trip, the lawmakers spoke to officials in Baghdad and residents in Basra. They expressed skepticism about the Bush administration's claims that Saddam was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction.
On March 26, 2008, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, an official of a Michigan charity, was accused of underwriting three members of Congress to travel to Iraq, on behalf of Iraqi intelligence officials. McDermott's office was already organizing the trip when the charity offered to pay the trip expenses. McDermott's spokesman claimed the charity was fully vetted by the U.S. government. He also stated that the congressmen obtained a license from the State Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control for the group to travel to Iraq.
Thompson has supported military intervention in certain foreign countries.
Thompson has been a supporter of a public option for healthcare. In 2009, Thompson wrote that "[b]y streamlining health care, reducing fraud and abuse, ending unnecessary testing, discouraging over-utilization, investing in smart reforms, and emphasizing preventive health care, we can significantly bring down the cost of health care." Additionally, in 2010, Thompson voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
|California State Senate 4th District Democratic Primary Election, 1990|
|California State Senate 4th District Election, 1990|
|Peace and Freedom||Irv Sotley||5,381||2.04|
|California State Senate 2nd District Election, 1994|
|Peace and Freedom||Pamela Elizondo||11,289||4.19|
|California's 1st Congressional District House Democratic Primary Election, 1998|
|Republican||Mark C. Luce||64,692||32.87|
|Libertarian||Emil P. Rossi||5,404||2.75|
|Peace and Freedom||Ernest K. Jones, Jr.||4,996||2.54|
|Republican||Russel J. "Jim" Chase||66,987||27.99|
|Natural Law||Cheryl Kreier||7,173||3.00|
|Libertarian||Emil P. Rossi||6,376||2.66|
|Republican||Lawrence R. Wiesner||60,013||32.40|
|Republican||Lawrence R. Wiesner||79,970||28.26|
|Republican||John W. Jones||63,194||28.98|
|Peace and Freedom||Timothy J.Stock||3,503||1.61|
|Independent||Carol Wolman||39 (write-in)||0.02|
|California's 1st Congressional District House Democratic Primary Election, 2008|
|Green||Pamela Elizondo||14 (write-in)||0.01|
|California's 5th Congressional District House Primary Election, 2012|
|Republican||Stewart John Cilley||14,734||11.1|
|California's 5th Congressional District House Primary Election, 2014|
|Independent||Douglas Van Raam||9,279||8.4|
|California's 5th Congressional District House Election, 2014|
|California's 5th Congressional District House Primary Election, 2016|
Thompson and Janet are avid home cooks and cook for fundraisers to benefit local nonprofits, such as for renovations to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, and Thompson's campaigns. Local Napa Valley wineries often sponsor Thompson's campaigns, with lunches, dinners, wine tastings and tours to gain support. Thompson is also a long-time volunteer for the Napa Valley wine auction fundraiser.
Congress specifically and repeatedly has affirmed the states' rights to manage non-migratory wildlife, including on most federal lands except for National Parks. H.R. 1472 would have preempted these rights and removed science and professional wildlife management as a cornerstone of America's successful wildlife management program.
| Member of the California Senate
from the 2nd district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 1st congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States representatives by seniority