Washington – Today, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) announced that the founder and CEO of After the Fire USA, Jennifer Gray Thompson, will be his guest for President Biden’s State of the Union address. The address is scheduled for February 7, 2023.
“I am honored to invite Jennifer Gray Thompson to represent our district and fire survivors at the State of the Union address. Our district has been ground zero for some of California’s worst wildfires, and the resilience of our communities and those who lost their homes, businesses, and livelihoods deserves recognition,” said Rep. Thompson. “Ms. Gray Thompson is emblematic of the strength of our survivor community and has been instrumental in helping fire survivors recover and rebuild. I look forward to welcoming Jennifer to Washington to uplift every survivor of wildfires.”
"I am honored to be Congressman Thompson's guest at SOTU. His leadership and dedication on challenges related to wildfire continue to make a difference in the lives of our district and extend far beyond to help all wildfire communities recover. I am proud to partner with him to protect survivors," said Gray Thompson.
Ms. Gray Thompson is a lifelong resident of Sonoma Valley. In the aftermath of the 2017 North Bay fires, she became the Executive Director of Rebuild NorthBay Foundation (RNBF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping our communities rebuild and recover from fires. In response to the Camp Fire of 2018, Ms. Thompson and RNBF established After the Fire USA to help address megafires.
As CEO of After the Fire USA, Ms. Gray Thompson created a Wildfire Resiliency Network to better prepare communities for wildfires. She has also implemented a Survivor Deployment Model for new fire survivor communities to facilitate recovery and reconstruction. She has since worked with national organizations to develop federal policies that support survivors and communities affected by these megafires and those that may happen in the future. Ms. Gray Thompson is an example of how we can support our communities in the wake of these fires and is a strong advocate for policies like Rep. Thompson’s legislation which would exempt thousands of fire victims who are receiving compensation from the PG&E Fire Victim Trust from having to pay federal income tax on their settlement money or attorney fees that are included in the settlement.
Rep. Thompson and Jennifer Gray Thompson are not related.
Rep. Thompson recently reintroduced this bill in the 118th Congress and is focused on getting it passed and signed into law to deliver relief directly to the survivors that After the Fire USA works to support.
The State of the Union Address will highlight the achievements of the last Congress and chart a path of the work ahead to lower costs, keep our communities safe, and deliver for the American people.