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Placeholder Image photo credit: Noah Abrams/KRCB
 Reps Thompson (left) and Huffman (right) speak at Wednesday's town hall

North Bay representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman hosted a joint town hall this week to address residents questions and concerns. 

"We're starting a new Congress," Thompson said. "I believe it's gonna be a little bit more challenging...but, uh, that's not gonna stop me from working as hard as I can."

"We want to make sure that California and our part of California gets its fair share," Huffman said.

They covered a range of topics, including the closure of this year's salmon season.

"With salmon, it's not just the drought and climate, it's also some really terrible water management decisions that we've been making," Huffman said. "But this year's, the first time I can remember that the minimum science-based flows that we've set for fish and the delta were waived in a wet year. Governor Newsom made a really bad decision on that. Thankfully, there was so much rain and snow that it didn't ever take effect."

As well as gun control.

"We've had some successes," Thompson said. "The straw purchase part. If you're prohibited by law from buying a gun because you're a criminal or you're dangerously mentally ill, you go to somebody else and get them to buy it for you. Well, this new bill that we passed cracks down on that."

Attendees also asked questions about digital literacy tax exemption for wildfire settlements from PG&E, federal funding for local infrastructure, and about the United States' role in the war in Ukraine, and a potential negotiated settlement, which led to the most prickly exchange of the evening.

"I have Ukrainian friends that lost their nephews, this is a meat grinder," One attendee said. "On this one," Thompson said. "We're gonna have to agree to disagree."

Both representatives expressed their continued support for military aid to Ukraine.

The two congressmen, who represent different parts of Sonoma County, spoke with KRCB news after the event.

"Just great engagement," Huffman said. "That's what we, that's what we have here in Sonoma County. It's wonderful."

Huffman is the representative for California's 2nd congressional district, which covers the entire Northern California coast and western parts of Sonoma County.

"People we're engaged," Mike Thompson said. "They wanted to know how well their democracy was working. They wanted to know what was going on in Washington. People had issues, I think they got answers to their questions."

Thompson, represents Eastern Sonoma County.

A matter of concern for both the future of Lake Pillsbury and the Potter Valley Project.

Huffman addressed Pacific Gas & electric's recent announcements about Lake Pillsbury's Scott Dam and the Potter Valley powerhouse.

"One is the seismic risk decision that you know, and a revelation really, where they've, they've concluded that it's a much greater seismic risk and that they can no longer operate it with the gates closed," Huffman said. "So that's gonna lower the storage properties of that reservoir."

"And then the second one is their decision not to replace the transformer and their hydro system," Huffman said. "So for whatever period of time this decommissioning process involves, there's gonna be no electricity generated and a seismic risk that we didn't know about."

Huffman said he's worked closely on the future of Lake Pillsbury for the past five years.

"Major changes are coming and we gotta get ahead of it," Huffman said. "So that's why my Two Basin Solution is so important. We can meet the water needs of the Russian River Basin while also dealing with the reality in the Eel River Basin. There's not gonna be a Scott Dam. There's gonna need to be fish passage improvements, but this can all work together."

On the topic of Senator Diane Feinstein's, fitness for office, Thompson had this to say:

"I know that Diane Feinstein is a real heroine in my view," Thompson said. "She's just done a wonderful job at every level. She's served our state well and I support her."

Thompson also cited the recent absence of Democratic Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman as a reason for the backlog of activity in the Senate, due to the lack of a Democratic voting majority.

Huffman noted the tight partisan margin in the Senate.

"We need to hear from her when she can get back to work in Washington," Huffman said. "It's really important that we have our senators there because there's not a big buffer, and we gotta confirm judges and nominees to FERC and other agencies that have been pending. But I think we ought to give the Senator a chance to tell us, you know, what's her health status, how soon can she return to work?"

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