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Friday, November 21, 2008

Congressman Mike Thompson for Secretary of Interior?

The Associated Press is reporting that two California Democratic Congressional leaders, George Miller and Anna Eshoo, sent a letter to President-elect Obama urging them to consider Congressman Mike Thompson for the Secretary of Interior.

Miller's chief of staff, Danny Weiss said:
"They believe that he would make an excellent secretary, has a broad base of support and knows the issues very well, both from the environmental side and the natural resources side, and they encouraged the transition team to consider him strongly."
According to the Associated Press:
"Nearly three dozen sportsmen's groups, including Ducks Unlimited and Wildlife Forever, also sent a letter to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team supporting Thompson.

Thompson backers are heartened by comments Obama made in an interview with Field & Stream magazine in September. He said his Interior secretary probably would be a sportsman or sportswoman.

"I think that having a head of the Department of Interior who doesn't understand hunting and fishing would be a problem," the magazine quoted Obama as saying."
It continues:
Thompson, 57, won re-election in November and will start his sixth term in January. He serves on the Ways and Means and Intelligence committees, and co-founded the Wine Caucus when he arrived in Congress in 1999.

He is an avid hunter and has pushed legislation and disaster relief on behalf of salmon fishermen in Northern California.

In a statement Thursday, Thompson said, "It's an honor to be recognized by the many groups I've worked with over the years, but no one associated with President-elect Obama has contacted me."
This has opened the speculation already on places such as Matt Rexroad's blog, as to who possible replacements would be in a district that includes seven counties stretch from Yolo in the Southeast each through Napa and Sonoma all the way to Humboldt and Del Norte counties up at the Oregon border.

Some possibilities include former State Senator Wes Chesbro, current State Senator Pat Wiggins, both of whom serve(d) the 2nd Senate District which covers the northern coastal portion of the 1st Congressional District.

Among locals names such as Senator-elect Lois Wolk, Supervisors Helen Thomson and Mike McGowan, Assemblywoman-elect Mariko Yamada, and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

As Rexroad points out, Yolo County does have more people and more Democrats in the 1st Congressional District than any other county. On the other hand, it is in the southeastern extreme portion of the county and there are members of the legislature better situation. Both Yamada and Wolk were just now elected. I think this is Chesbro or Wiggins' to lose if they want it, but of course, Mike Thompson would have to be offered and accept the job.

Mike Thompson somewhat fits the profile, although usually you see a Western Senator or Governor get the offer. The Democrats find themselves with a number of pretty good candidates with some of the more populist western governorships they now hold. Of course, do they want to give up those positions? Already, we have seen Obama offer Arizona Governor Napolitano the Secretary of Homeland Security, a position she has reportedly accepted. Would he dip into that well for a Brian Schweitzer (Governor of Montana) or a Bill Ritter (Governor of Colorado)? Thompson has the advantage of being from a safe seat which is nearly three-quarters Democrat.

This pick does give a bit of local intrigue to the race for the second time this week, as UC Davis law professor emeritus and former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso was named as part of a search team.

---David M. Greenwald reporting