California lawmaker pushed for Interior job
WASHINGTON (AP)—A Northern California congressman who hunts, fishes and grows wine grapes is being promoted for Interior secretary by two prominent fellow lawmakers.
California Democratic Reps. George Miller and Anna Eshoo sent a letter to the incoming administration in the past week urging consideration for Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St.Helena, said Miller’s chief of staff, Danny Weiss.
“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,” he said.
Miller and Eshoo are close with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, as is Thompson.
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.
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.”