Del Norte County voters should return Mike Thompson to Congress on Nov. 7.

Thompson has served the First Congressional District well during his past eight years in Washington. He's brought money to the county, has taken up our banner on Capitol Hill and visits this area frequently to stay up on our needs and concerns.

Despite being in the minority party, Thompson has brought dollars to the district and specifically Del Norte County. He was instrumental in garnering funds for improvements to Highway 199, a major route that brings tourists and goods off heavily traveled Interstate 5 to Crescent City and the coast. Most recently he got $193,00 in grants so First District fire departments can purchase equipment to better communicate during emergencies.

It's clear that Thompson has the interests of Del Norte County voters in mind. Last week, he and Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio met in our area to pledge their support for a bicounty effort to transform the local airport into a regional facility, a vital step if we are to draw more tourists here. He also got the president to recently sign the Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Act, which designates 273,000 acres of Northern California as wilderness in perpetuity. The bill, which Thompson authored, also designates 21 miles of Scenic River and approximately 51,000 acres as a Recreation Management Area for off-highway vehicles and mountain bikes. This only strengthens our region's standing as a recreation destination.

Thompson also is visible in Del Norte County, despite the size of his district, which stretches south to the San Francisco Bay area and west toward Sacramento. It would be easy for Thompson to ignore our sparsely populated county in favor of the growing Napa Valley and metro bay area. Considering his frequent visits here and work at the federal level to address our problems, he's proven himself a friend to Del Norte County.

Should the Democrats gain control of Congress as current polls indicate they might, re-electing Thompson would prove a boon to the district. As a fifth-term congressman, he could hold powerful committee positions, allowing him to better address our district's concerns.

If local voters want to keep an effective voice for the First Congressional District on Capitol Hill, they should cast a ballot for Thompson next Tuesday.