CA17: Honda raises $214k, Khanna holds 1st rally

On the heels of his well-bankrolled challenger’s campaign kickoff rally this weekend, Rep. Mike Honda announced Monday that he raised about $214,000 in this year’s first quarter toward his 2014 re-election campaign.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, faces a challenge in the 17th Congressional District from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official. Khanna raised a record-setting $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011, when his plan was to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District; Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell last year, and now Khanna will try to do the same to Honda.

But Honda, who since the start of this year has been rolling out high-profile endorsements including those of President Barack Obama and almost all California House Democrats, seems ready to put up a hell of a fight.

His campaign said Monday that he raised $213,944.74 from 345 donors from Jan. 1 through March 31, and has hired a formidable fundraising team to hit wallets near and far. Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, founder and principal of Arum Group LLC, will direct national fundraising efforts and Shari Rubin-Rick and Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg of Integrated Fundraising Strategies will guide the California money operation.

“In the last 90 days, we’ve added finance talent to build upon our on-going fundraising operation and we are moving ahead aggressively with face-to-face and online fundraising,” campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said in a news release. “In the second quarter, the Congressman will travel for fundraising events to Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, and Mayor Ed Lee will co-host an event in San Francisco.”

Among the contributions Honda’s campaign touted are those from actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame; Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer; and officers or employees from tech companies including McAfee, Phillips Electronics, Qualcomm, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association.

“This is a Congressman who works both for the people and the drivers of innovation in Silicon Valley,” Mielke said in the release. “He is known as a trusted voice to grow jobs, help families, and improve education. People at every level want to be a part of keeping Rep. Honda in Congress,” she added.

Honda started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand, so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to Khanna’s $1 million bankroll. Khanna raised only $18,000 in the first quarter, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar (he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2) and promises a much more aggressive second quarter.

Ro KhannaMeanwhile, Khanna – who formally announced his campaign earlier this month – held the first public event of campaign Sunday at DeAnza College in Cupertino. The “Rally with Ro” featured a performance by a local dance troupe, as well as speeches from supporters including two members of Khanna’s campaign committee: longtime local labor leader Sergio Santos and Lindsay Lamont, a student who took one of Khanna’s classes at Stanford. And, of course, the candidate himself gave a broad outline of why he’s in this race.

“In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking,” Khanna said. “We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?”

Khanna ran through a series of policy points geared toward Silicon Valley’s needs, such as “tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas;” a need to “simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore;” tech-oriented education system that teaches code to elementary school students; and immigration reform that welcomes and retains job creators.

“The world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best,” he said. “If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.”

Honda’s campaign on Friday had offered up a roster of Silicon Valley politicians (including San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews); business and labor leaders (including South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field, Root Square CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins and Yonja Media Group CEO Dilawar Syed); and others who’ll sing Honda’s praises as a champion for the region. Honda himself was at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento this weekend, doubtlessly shoring up what few party-politico endorsements he doesn’t already have.

Read Khanna’s complete remarks as prepared, after the jump…

Thanks to all of you for taking time out on a Sunday afternoon to be here at DeAnza Community College with me.

As I look out over this crowd, I see what makes Silicon Valley so special.

I see students, entrepreneurs, technology leaders, and working families.

I see faces of different races and many different ethnic groups from across the globe.

This is the promise of America.

But many of us are here today because we share a deep concern about
the state of our democracy.

Our nation’s founders warned about the problem of factions and parties.

They warned that that our country could not prosper if politics were dominated by special interests.

Unfortunately, we have not heeded their warnings.

What we have today in Washington is polarized politics, where special interests dominate and the voice of citizens goes unheard.

How else can we explain that, four months to the day after the tragedy at Newtown, Congress is struggling to pass even the most minimal reform of our gun laws?

This paralysis extends to our nation’s economy. Congress is unable to pass an agenda to help create jobs, or to provide the right type of education for the 21st Century.

Some people are so frustrated with Congress that they just tune out whenever the word Washington is mentioned. But apathy is not an option.

The failure of our politics has real consequences for the strength and competitiveness of our nation. It has put the American Dream at risk for millions of middle class families – and all those who aspire to the middle-class.

Today, for the first time in our history, there is a question of whether my generation will do as well as the previous one.

At stake are the sacrifices that so many families, including mine, made to pursue the dream of a better life.

My grandfather spent four years in jail in Gandhi’s movement for Indian independence, because he wanted something better than subjugation for his children.

That movement inspired Martin Luther King and the U.S. civil rights movement, and the civil rights movement paved the way for the Immigration Reform Act of 1965 — so my parents and other Asians could come to this country for a better life.

Think about how hard it must be to leave your family – to leave everything you’ve ever known — and move to a new country.

My parents took that leap of faith. For them, happiness would be measured not by the fulfillment of their own desires, but by what their children might accomplish in a land without limits.

The question before us today is whether America will remain that land of opportunity. Is it still possible for the daughters and sons of middle class families — who go to public school and take out loans for higher education — to have big dreams and achieve big things?

I’m running for Congress to make sure that it is.

I’m running because we need a better politics, more worthy of our founding ideals; more worthy of those who sacrificed, like my parents.

Now, I may be idealistic, but I’m not naive.

We have profound differences in this country on many social and moral issues.

I will never compromise on questions of basic rights and fairness, such as a woman’s right to choose, or a person’s right to marry who they love, or civil liberties for people of all faiths.

Those rights are inviolable, and must be protected.

But even though this nation may be divided on some big, moral questions, I believe we can find common ground on improving economic opportunity for millions of middle-class families willing to work hard and play by the rules.

My message when I get to Congress will be simple:

Those of us who care about American greatness, who believe in American exceptionalism, must put aside our differences and work together when it comes to strengthening our economy and creating good paying jobs.

We must work together to make sure that the middle-class can succeed in this country as the world becomes increasingly competitive.

We must work together to make sure that every qualified person, regardless of income, has access to a higher education, and that the seniors who built this country can still retire with the security and dignity they’ve earned.

In these pursuits, Washington can learn from Silicon Valley – one of the nation’s most powerful engines of economic growth.

In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking. We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?

A Congress that realizes that business and labor aren’t enemies, but potential partners in creating jobs.

A Congress that recognizes that not every government program is worth preserving – but only those that are measurably achieving their goals.

A Congress that is beholden neither to the extreme ideology of the right nor of the left but open to pragmatic solutions that actually help the middle-class.

A Congress that doesn’t just pay lip-service to saving manufacturing jobs, but actually knows what types of manufacturing jobs are sustainable in the United States — and how we can obtain them.

In short, we need more independent thinking in Congress – and fewer Members who simply march with their party in lock-step and repeat the talking points prepared for them.

We need Members of Congress willing to take on the special interests that use their PACs to stand in the way of change and good policies.

Let me be specific about some of these policies based on what I’ve been hearing from many in our community.

We need tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas and reform of a tax regime written for a 1960’s economy.

And we need companies benefitting from such reforms to expand their payrolls and help with worker training –because the goal of any incentives has to be more jobs for the middle class.

We need to simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore.

Most important, we need to improve our nation’s educational system — because today’s global economy is based not on where you live, but on what you know.

We as a nation are falling behind in education — and we simply cannot afford it. Even here in Silicon Valley, where we are technology-rich, too many of our schools are technology-poor.

We can start by making sure that every elementary student in this
District has the opportunity to learn code.

Think about how many millionaires this Valley has produced because they knew how to code, and how many good-paying jobs exist for those with programming skills.

In fact, if there is one website far more important than www.rokhanna.com, it’s www.code.org.

We must also make sure that every student in this district, and across the entire nation, has access to some form of higher education — whether it’s a university, a vocational school, or a community college like De Anza.

More than any time in history, knowledge is the key to a good-paying job.

Everything I am today I owe to a good education. It is the way up in the world for middle-class families and their children.

As a teacher at Santa Clara and Stanford, higher education is my passion.

As a Member of Congress, I’ll ask educational institutions that receive federal dollars to partner with the private sector to teach real world, employable skills.

And I’ll ask them to help working families struggling with rising tuition by making certain courses and credits available online.

Our country needs brainpower — from wherever we can find it.

Our local economy thrives today because we’ve welcomed immigrant technology leaders and entrepreneurs.

If someone is a job creator, then we should make it easy for them to come to these shores — and stay here.

And as it pertains to immigrants already here who are getting a good education or doing meaningful work, we should stop wasting energy trying to kick them out.

That is just common sense. And it is why we need immigration reform.

Silicon Valley can shape not just our nation, but our world.

The twentieth century was one of the most brutal in human history. Think about it. We had two World Wars, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War.

In just the past ten years, thousands of Americans have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan – many giving their lives or limbs.

There has to be a better way forward. Silicon Valley offers us hope.

In this district – in this campaign – you will find people from every part of the globe.

When we send out a tweet, or post on Facebook or Linkedin, we don’t
think about borders. We’re not limited by ideology. We do not speak the stale language of balance-of-power politics. We simply have friends or colleagues in China, in India, in Pakistan, in the Middle East.

That is why the world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best.

If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.

Together, we can restore civility and reason to our politics, and make sure that every American has the chance to rise just as high as their hard work will take them.

Together, we can help America remain the beacon of innovation, lighting our way to a more open, peaceful and democratic world.

I am excited to begin this journey with all of you and filled with hope about America’s future. Thank you.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Independent Voter

    I attended Ro Khanna’s launch event in Cupertino yesterday. It was a great event and a very diverse crowd. There were several terrific speeches. Jeremy Bird made a compelling case on why the time is right for Khanna to run now. Quite simply put, Silicon Valley needs a leader who is actually going to be a “leader” in Washington and not a “follower”. Honda is a nice guy, but not widely considered to be a mover or shaker in DC. He’s been trying to cast that image in recent weeks, but he’s just another reliable Democratic vote who follows the script set forth by party leaders.

    Khanna’s speech was very well-received by the hundreds in attendance. I personally liked it because it was so honest. He addressed the problems of how broken Congress truly is, something you will rarely hear any member of Congress admit. You really got a sense from Khanna that he has the vision and innovative ideas which can help shape actual change in Washington. He won’t be another hack that will fall in line with the rest of the party if he doesn’t agree with them. I think he has already proved that by making the bold and courageous decision to challenge Honda, regardless of the party establishment’s preferred candidate. If and when he gets to DC, I get the sense that he will be a leader on Day 1; and will lead in the best of interests of his constituents and what he feels is right and not necessarily what the rest of the party thinks. I also don’t think he will cave to special interests groups, something most politicians do. He hasn’t accepted any contributions from PACs to date, which I find admirable.

    I may not be like the average voter, but that’s the type of candidate I want representing me. I’m tired of the status quo, and Khanna definitely isn’t another “status quo” candidate. I’m thrilled that I live in his district, so that I can proudly cast my vote for him.

    Looking forward to seeing how the campaign shapes up during the next few months. Go Ro Go!

  • Elwood

    I love to watch dimmiecrats spending millions of dollars to carve each other up.

    Not even Karl Rove could have conceived this plan.

  • Viola

    This news makes me really sad. Mike Honda has already served for twelve years and he would be completing fourteen years in Congress by 2014. He will also be 74yrs old. He should step aside and let new and young talents take over. Instead his greed and hunger for power is coating the Democrats money. We should be spending this money to win republican seats.
    I’m disgusted by this selfish attitude of Honda. This article just sealed my support for the new candidate.

  • Rose

    I used to respect and like Congressman Honda, he has really served our community. However I’m turned off by his recent self centered actions. Saw him at the convention with young Indian men running after him as his aids. It looked so disingenuous. Made me see him in a different light, someone who will do anything to stay in power. Congressman stop this madness and let us remember you for everything you have done. Don’t waste the funds that can be used in valuable races to beat the republicans. Let the next generation step up to serve the country.

  • Mike

    Love the article…Handa appears to be another selfish Pete who wants to block young blood and talent because of his PAC money and lobbyists…he has passed no legislations for the silicon valley nor for US ..Basically done nothing for past 12 years and spend his time as an ineffective congressman..
    After reading Ro’s speech and did research on his work.. This is the kind of leader we need for our country … I beg Cong Honda to graciouslly retire and bless Ro so that we can save all those $$ for assisting the middel class families..to top it all we will remember him for his legacy to get another young ASian elected for his seat ..Pls think of your children and our children and do not make it an ego issue because of your staffers..we need a young leader like Ro to revive the valley/US by his new ideas and passion to make us proud !! Go Ro Go !!

  • Elwood

    Wow, the Khanna shills are really out in force!

  • Josh Richman

    For the record: the comments posted at #3 as “Viola” and #4 as “Rose” actually came from the same e-mail and IP address. Though I don’t presume to know the motive, I have informed the commenter of our policy against sock-puppetry; all commenters are asked not to make multiple posts under multiple names, and whenever possible should try to consolidate their thoughts into a single comment rather than several consecutive ones.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    I would agree with what others are saying, Mike Honda has been one of the lesser lights in the NorCal delegation, just good enough to get by. I’d give him a C- as a grade – in terms of effectiveness. Even though he has been in office a long time, it’s still a “Mike Who?” thing all over DC. He’s an obscure back-bencher, pretty much, that’s how I would describe him. Significantly, Honda is not big on new policy ideas or innovation – I would describe him as a “no idea” Congressman, he’s just satisfied with hanging on to seat his seat and taking orders from Nancy Pelosi
    I think you’ve got another Pete Stark here, an elderly, ineffective Congressman who has fallen in love with the perks and benefits of the job and won’t leave. Leaving Congress means giving up junkets, staff, the massive salary – meeting celebrities – all the stuff baby boomer era yuppie politicians go ga-go over. Honda has come to expect these perks and benefits, and will try and stay in Congress until he’s 90 if voters don’t retire him in 2014.
    As a blue collar worker – who makes about half of what I was making in Clinton era – I want people in Congress who know how to put people back to work – at decent wages, or keep them working. This Rho Khanna fellow has a plan – concrete plans – how to re-vitalize the manufacturing sector. We need people like this in DC, “big picture ” thinkers who have a vision for the future. This generation of me-first, baby boomer era politicians – like Mike Honda or Pete Stark they have to go, we need a new generation to come in and clean up mess in DC.

  • Bluecollar voter.

    I neglected to mention in my earlier post, at the plant I work at – we get 20 job applicants a day, young kids – with familes, looking for work, desperate to work. I see the tragedy of high unemployment every day, so when I pick up the paper and see Nancy Pelsoi flying to Italy – on the US taxpayers dime – to attend the Pope’s swearing in – I get a little upset. We need leaders who are working to put people back to work, not leaders who are flying around on junkets.
    This Rho Khana fellow has spent thousands and thousands of hours thinking about how to put blue collar workers back to work, the workers nobody cares about mostly – including Mike Honda, so I have become an enthusiastic back of Khanna. He’s a change agent, let’s put a change agent in Congress, let’s put people back to work.

  • RunToDaylight

    Very impressed with Khanna’s transcript! Can relate to many things he mentions – importance of education, his take on manufacturing, reengineering our education system, empowering the middle class & equality. The way I see it for a place as dynamic as the VALLEY, need of the hour is a young capable leader with strong legs to run the distance. He seems to possess a vast reservoir of intelligence, vigor and energy. I want “more” rather than less of a good. Godspeed Mr.Ro Khanna!!

  • GV Haste

    #3, 4, 5, 8, 9, and 10

    All seem a little coordinated.

    Seem out of cadence with the regular posting pattern here. Also, all new names, all of a sudden.
    Come on folks, lets be a little less transparent.

    Myself, I don’t live in the district, but wouldn’t mind seeing a replacement.

    Question. We’re gonna have immigration reform which most of us agree is needed.
    After that, newly arrived undocumented workers will continue to flow in for years afterwards.
    When they go to work, will either Ro or Honda insist on strict use of E-Verify to prevent new illegal workers from being hired?

    If Ro or Honda do not insist on E-Verify, what do they propose to control newly arrived illegal workers from being hired.
    Has Honda or Khanna put out a position on enforcment?
    Or are they just favoring the general idea of reform but not insisting on enforcement?

    Bay Area workers, blue collar and others, want to know how serious they are about workable reform.

    So, all you new Ro posters, what is Ro’s stance?
    Honda supporters, the same?

  • RR senile columnist

    I dig Ro’s perspective. His granddad was jailed by the British imperialists because he wanted his children to starve in a sovereign state. Then Ro’s parents got fed up with homespun clothes, Nehru jacket socialism and endless civil strife and came to America. Now Ro wants to show his gratitude by ousting another successful minority group guy because he is impatient to reach public office. Only in America!

  • GV Haste

    Come on Senile, you can’t step out your political door without hitting a minority, or female, or gay, or whatever candidate.

    Meaning as often as not, if you face a incumbent, you are going to have a minority, or women, or GLBT, or “something” candidate to oppose.

    We are past the time where you shouldn’t oppose a given candidate because he represents a minority.
    Its no longer practical if you expect to have real elections.
    I mean, we’ll soon run out of white males as being the only ones you can oppose.
    This is a natural progression in a multi-cultural society such as the Bay Area.
    Go into any grocery store in the 17th District and see who is shopping.

    How can you avoid running against a “minority” when there is no majority?

  • Elwood

    @ Josh #7

    Oh, come on, Josh. The newspaper biz has made you cynical. Rose and Viola are sisters sharing a computer and an email account.

    And all the new posters just seem to be Khanna shills.

    What GV Haste said in #11!

  • John Locke

    Rohit Khanna is basically right wing, his big ideas are lower corporate taxes, increase immigration, and reduce trade tariffs. He doesn’t talk about helping the middle class. Rohit is an elitist who thinks in castes, and hangs out with Meg Whitman, Dutra and other republican or republican sympathizers. His is essentially a republican and is supported by rich corporate people in Atherton, etc.. who donate huge sums to his campaign (i.e. the Koch brother paradigm). He loves to talk about silicon valley but he has never actually worked in silicon valley.
    Rho Khanna, has proposed anti-American ex-post facto rules and laws that punish people after the fact, which is not only against the thinking of Ben Franklin, Jeffereson and Madison its not something Jesus would propose.

  • JohnW

    RoK may be pushing pro-business ideas, but that hardly makes him right wing. You say he “has never actually worked in Silicon Valley.” In fact, he was an intellectual property attorney with a law firm based in Silicon Valley. Nothing is more central to the success of tech companies there than intellectual property. Just ask Apple and Samsung.

  • John Locke

    Ro is very right wing. His book is about more military spending (military industrial spending), more gutting of regulations (glass-stiegle), lower corporate taxes, more weaking of unions, more private education. He isn’t even from CA and has never worked for a tech firm like Apple. He has only worked for outside law firms and taught at private schools. There is not one mention of raising the minimum wage in his book, not one mention of making college free again (pre-Reagan change) in CA, instead he advocates the Romney republican ideas of charter schools for those that can pay and more outsourcing, etc. etc.

  • Marga

    Are you trying to drive Khanna’s book sales up by getting Honda supporters to go buy it in the hope that it actually says what you claim it says? How about suggesting that in the book he provides proof that America was really founded by aliens? You could get the whole UFO crowd to buy it as well 🙂