Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Rep. Mike Thompson's noodle dinner will feature civil rights icon

(Originally published in the 3/22/16 edition)

   Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa) will be hosting an International Noodle Dinner in Vallejo as part of an effort to know the constituents of his district- or rather let the citizens of his district know him.
   “He just wants to be a face and for people to know who he is and feel comfortable reaching out to them, rather than some figurehead in Washington who doesn’t ever come back and you don’t really know,” Thompson’s campaign events coordinator Mary Jane Bowker said. “He is a real person who cares tremendously about his district.”
   Thompson, who also represents Benicia as part of California’s 5th district, will be speaking for about 15 minutes on projects he has been working on for Solano and Contra Costa counties and deliver updates on what has been going on in Washington, D.C. All of this will be occurring as guests enjoy noodle dishes of several different nationalities, including Italian, Chinese, Filipino and Thai.
   Guests will also hear from Rep. John Lewis. In addition to having represented Georgia’s 5th district since 1987, Lewis was a major civil rights figure in the ‘60s. He was among the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, which also included Martin Luther King, Jr. Lewis was president of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and played a big role in fighting segregation and racial discrimination. He was also one of the original Freedom Riders, spoke at the March on Washington in 1963 and led the 1965 march in Selma, Ala. in a day that later came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”
   Thompson and Lewis have worked closely together, with Thompson even joining Lewis in Selma for the 50th anniversary of the march.
   “(Thompson) is a colleague of Mr. Lewis in Washington, D.C., and they work closely together,” Bowker said. “He asked him to come out here, and he said yes.”
   Additionally, there will be a raffle, free electronic recycling and a computers for nonprofits program. The company Computer Recycling Center will be giving out four recently refurbished Intel Core Duo/Dual Core Windows desktop computers to nonprofit organizations.
   “The reason we use this particular company is because they take all the toxic material out of the product and recycle them properly so nothing goes into the landfill,” Bowker said. 
   The computers in really good condition are refurbished and upgraded to Windows 8 so they can be delivered to nonprofits. Interested organizations should bring in a letter addressed to Steve Wyatt, including its 501(C) number and a short explanation on how its organization will be using these computers. The value of each system is $300.
   Bowker says the event will be a good way to educate people on the political system.
   “I think it’s very important that people get involved in the political system,” she said. “Politics starts in your home. It starts with people that are elected to the school board to city councils to supervisors. I think that the more people get involved, the more they become committed to the community. Mike wants people to know that he’s accessible. If you have a situation, question or problem, his offices are open and he wants to be very approachable.”

   The dinner will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday, April 2 at the Mare Island Museum, located at 1100 Railroad Ave. in Vallejo. Tickets are $25 for adults and free for children under 12. Tickets can be purchased in advance, at the door or online at MikeThompsonForCongress.com. For more information, call Bowker at (707) 226-8989.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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