Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, was profiled in a feature in the New York Times Sunday edition, and this morning the story was picked up by many of its affiliates, including the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Thompson, whose district encompasses much of the North Coast’s Wine Country, is not only the industry’s foremost champion in Washington, helping it secure tax breaks, get money for pet projects like the Napa Valley Wine Train or beat back restrictions on direct sales of wine. He is also a vineyard owner, growing 20 acres of sauvignon blanc grapes at his farm north of Napa.
While plenty of lawmakers in Washington act as advocates for particular industries, Thompson is in business with some of the same companies whose agendas he promotes. His vineyard has been paid at least $500,000 since 2006 by two wineries whose executives have appealed to Congress on legislative matters....
Thompson’s dual role as industry backer and grape producer has drawn some criticism, particularly from his alcohol industry rivals.
Here is the direct link to the New York Times article (registration may be required).