Sonoma Valley resident, After the Fire CEO joining Rep. Mike Thompson at Biden’s State of the Union address

Rep. Mike Thompson from California’s 4th District announced Friday morning that Jennifer Gray Thompson, founder and CEO of After the Fire, will be his guest for President Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

As a lifelong resident of the valley and local leader in disaster relief from the 2017 fires, Rep. Thompson believes Gray Thompson “is emblematic of the strength of our survivor community and has been instrumental in helping fire survivors recover and rebuild.”

In the wake of the fires, Gray Thompson was tapped to lead the Rebuild North Bay Foundation, a nonprofit founded with donor dollars. Three years later, she became CEO of After the Fire, an initiative launched by the nonprofit to help communities across the country recover from disasters.

She is now a leading national expert in recovery from wildfire, working from ground zero to the federal level to empower local communities. She speaks on panels and assists municipalities in putting the pieces back together post-tragedy.

In October of last year, Gray Thompson was named on Forbes’ 50 Over 50 2022: Women Stepping Into Their Power In Life’s Second Half, alongside names like Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson and New York Times best-selling author Brené Brown.

“As someone who grew up here and has had the pleasure of knowing Congressman Thompson since I was 18 years old, it is an incredible honor to represent After the Fire USA and Sonoma Valley. Added bonus: I am a nerd for America and to be present for a State of the Union is both thrilling and humbling. I appreciate this opportunity beyond words,” Gray Thompson wrote in an email to the Sonoma Index-Tribune.

In January, Thompson helped reintroduce a bill from the last Congress — H.R. 7305 — to exempt thousands of fire victims receiving compensation from the Fire Victim Trust from having to pay federal income tax on settlement money or attorney fees.

The State of the Union address will highlight the achievements of the last Congress and look at the work ahead to lower costs, keep communities safe and deliver for the American people.

Contact the reporter Rebecca Wolff at [email protected].