Congressman Mike Thompson and Chef Patrick Mulvaney Find Reasons for Hope

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

How do we continue to care for each other as the pandemic draws to a close? Congressman Mike Thompson from California’s 5th District and influential Sacramento chef Patrick Mulvaney join host Billy Shore to discuss how the pandemic has affected the food and wine industries. “The [recently-passed] FEED Act is pretty straightforward: It recognizes that at times of disaster, food insecurity is heightened and we need to do more,” says Thompson. “What we saw was empty kitchens, antsy cooks, and foods in the field that weren’t being sold… How can we afford not to?,” recalls Mulvaney about coordinating with funders like No Kid Hungry and Sacramento County and others in his community to deliver more than 250,000 meals through schools and seniors during the pandemic so far.

Both changemakers are hopeful about building our country stronger after the pandemic. “I’m excited about the things that we can do. If we work together, there’s no stopping us,” Thompson believes. “What I feel now is hope… There’s a sense that any of us that have made it this far are going to live to see the other side,” says Mulvaney.

Join us and be moved by two community leaders who do so much to protect and care for those in need through difficult times.

Resources and Mentions:

Chef Patrick Mulvaney

Patrick Mulvaney

Chef/Owner
Patrick Mulvaney is a proud Sacramentan whose cooking career has spanned five time zones.  In 2001 he began Culinary Specialists, opening Mulvaney’s B&L in 2006. Over a decade later the ever-changing menu at the B&L remains dedicated to local, seasonal foods delivered with elegant hospitality. The Restaurant received l’Assiette Michelin in the first ever California Michelin Guide. Mulvaney is one of the people working to make Sacramento the “Farm-to-Fork” capital of the country. Outside the restaurant Patrick serves as a member of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, the California stewardship council of American Farmland Trust and the external advisory board for the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute. Mulvaney is also active with the James Beard Foundation, Food Policy Action & Roots of Change. In 2018 a project near to his and Bobbin’s heart arose after losing too many comrades to death by suicide in the restaurant industry. The I Got Your Back project (https://igotyourback.info/) is a peer referral and online resource which seeks to reduce stigma and increase conversation about mental health in the hospitality world. With the help of four major health groups and many others a pilot was conducted showing a marked increase in seeking out resources and professional help among participants. IGYB is presently working with the State of California and James Beard Foundation to extend the reach of the program. When the pandemic hit the B&L began cooking for hungry students and families, the project turned into Family Meal which is now facilitating four programs. To date Family Meal Sacramento has delivered 200,000 meals to hungry schoolchildren and Great Plates Delivered over 600,000 meals for seniors. Statewide the second program has delivered 18MM meals and injected hundreds of millions of dollars back into the economy.
Rep. Mike Thompson

Rep. Mike Thompson

U. S. Representative
Congressman Mike Thompson represents California's 5th Congressional District. He was first elected in 1998. Thompson is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and serves as Chairman of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee and as a senior member of the Health Subcommittee. In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Thompson was named Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Thompson is a hunter, gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He also believes that Congress should do more to reduce gun violence. In February of 2013, Thompson’s task force released a comprehensive set of policy principles that will reduce gun violence and respect the Second Amendment, including expanding the criminal background check system to all commercial firearm sales. Thompson is the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Wine Caucus, which consists of over 215 U.S. Senators and Representatives. He is a member and was twice co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. He is also a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is composed of Democrats committed to bipartisan problem solving and fiscal responsibility. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Military Veterans Caucus, he led the effort to improve treatment options for servicemembers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. He has authored bills to help veterans find work as they make the transition back to civilian life. And, as someone who went to college on the GI Bill himself, he helped lead the effort in Congress to pass the 21st Century GI Bill. He served in combat with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. Thompson is the co-author of comprehensive immigration reform. He also has worked to ensure equal rights for same sex couples, and has co-authored legislation that gives state and local law enforcement the tools to prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation. As a combat veteran, Thompson worked to end the discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

I Got Your Back

The I Got Your Back project (IGYB) is a peer referral and online resource which seeks to reduce stigma and increase conversation about mental health in the hospitality world. With the help of four major health groups and many others a pilot was conducted showing a marked increase in seeking out resources and professional help among participants. IGYB is presently working with the State of California and James Beard Foundation to extend the reach of the program.