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CA17: Mike Honda’s political director resigns

By Josh Richman
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 at 10:33 am in 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House.

The political director of Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign has quit, telling supporters the 17th Congressional District’s competitive nature “will require and deserve an increasingly greater commitment of time and energy.”

Lamar HeystekLamar Heystek wrote that he’s choosing instead “to begin devoting more time and energy to my wife, our son and the family we look forward to growing together,” as well as starting a new job as program development officer at ASIAN Inc., a San Francisco nonprofit working on behalf of Asian Americans and other minorities in areas such as business development, housing and financial education.

It sounds like there’s no bad blood between Heystek, 35, of San Francisco, and Honda, D-San Jose. “My faith and confidence in him and his campaign have been unshakable. He is an outstanding public servant and a great friend who will continue to receive my support and assistance.”

Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show Honda’s campaign has been paying Heystek $6,000 per month.

Heystek, a former Davis councilman, departs as the 17th District race shifts into even higher gear for the sprint toward June 3’s top-two primary. Fellow Democrat Ro Khanna’s challenge has been making headlines for almost a year; Republican Vanila Singh got into the race at the start of 2014; and two other Republicans – Joel Vanlandingham and Vinesh Singh Rathore – entered the race just before this month’s candidacy filing deadline.

Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Wednesday that Heystek has been an important part of the campaign since joining it in 2011, helping to run its multi-lingual voter outreach and laying the groundwork for Honda’s overwhelming Democratic Party endorsement.

“Lamar’s departure from the campaign, so he can spend more time with his growing family, has been in the works for months and the transition has been smooth,” Kembaiyan said. “We miss seeing Lamar everyday, but thanks in part to his dedication and hard work, Congressman Honda’s campaign is in its strongest position ever and we are continuing full speed ahead into the primary.”

Read Heystek’s entire email, after the jump…

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope this message reaches you well. I am writing to let you know that I have decided to make a transition in my professional life — with a heavy heart, I am moving on from my position as Congressman Mike Honda’s Political Director.

Due to the competitive nature of the race for the 17th Congressional District, the Mike Honda for Congress campaign will require and deserve an increasingly greater commitment of time and energy from its staff and supporters. With the 2014 California Democratic Party convention a week behind us, I am taking this opportunity to begin devoting more time and energy to my wife, our son and the family we look forward to growing together. I am taking on a new role as Program Development Officer for ASIAN, Inc., whose offices are within walking distance of my home and whose mission is close to my heart. Please take a moment to show your support for my transition by “liking” ASIAN, Inc. on Facebook.

Lenine Umali will begin assuming my duties on Tuesday, March 25. In the meantime, please continue keeping in touch with Congressman Honda’s campaign staff online at www.mikehonda.com, by e-mail at campaign@mikehonda.com and by phone at (408) 641-1717.

Since I began working with Congressman Honda in December 2011, my faith and confidence in him and his campaign have been unshakable. He is an outstanding public servant and a great friend who will continue to receive my support and assistance. I am proud of the work Congressman Honda, his campaign team and I have done together — and I am fully confident in the talent and experience of the colleagues I leave behind, especially our campaign manager, Doug Greven; I know they have what it takes to achieve victory. I hope you will continue to be a part of their important work, as will I — Congressman Mike Honda’s continued progressive leadership, locally and nationally, as well as his continued success delivering for his district, are needed now more than ever before.

Going forward, please feel free to contact me at this e-mail address, and please consider keeping in touch with me via Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to seeing you at Congressman Honda’s fundraiser with George Takei on Thursday the 20th, as well as Congressman Honda’s canvassing kickoff at his headquarters on Saturday the 22nd (more details to come from the campaign).

It has been a true honor working with you — thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do for Congressman Honda and his campaign!

Sincerely,
Lamar Heystek

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  • Willis James

    ““Lamar’s departure from the campaign, so he can spend more time with his growing family, has been in the works for months and the transition has been smooth,”

    Can we repeat that ‘operative phrase’ one more time…

    ““Lamar’s departure from the campaign, so he can spend more time with his growing family,”

    Goodness, couldn’t they have been a little more creative?

  • Elwood

    Leading dimmiecrats say that Obamacare putting 2 million people out of work is a good thing because those workers will have more time to spend with their families.

  • JohnW

    I must have missed that story.

  • Elwood

    Google Pelosi, Nancy or Carney, Jay

  • JohnW

    Distortions, distortions, distortions!

    That search you suggested seemed a bit broad. So, I googled “Pelosi Obamacare 2 million jobs” What I got was a 2/14/14 headline quote on the FoxNews website quoting Pelosi as claiming Obamacare would CREATE 4 million jobs. Whether you believe that prediction or not is beside the point. There’s no happy talk about putting 2 million people out of work.

    Did the same thing, only using Jay Carney’s name instead. Up popped 2/4/14 quote from him (again on FoxNews website) talking about 2.3 million workers who might opt out of the workforce, because they are no longer tethered to jobs they don’t like, need or want just to get health insurance. That’s not “putting 2 million people out of work.” If anything, it frees up 2.3 million jobs for people who want and need them.

  • Elwood

    All depends on how you spin it. Is another disincentive to work a good thing?

  • Guest

    From what I can see Mike Honda’s campaign is in shambles. Ro Khanna and hundreds of volunteers have been knocking on doors for months. Khana himself has knocked on 2,000 doors, and he’s got two and half more month to knock on more doors. In contrast, Mike Honda – who is legendary for moving at the pace of a snail – is just getting around to precinct walking. Recently Khanna turned in 4,000 signatures to get on ballot at the election office, Honda turned in just 390 signatures. In the fundraising department Honda is just getting creamed by Khanna, the aggressive Khanna – who works 18 hours a day 7 days a week – has just outworked Honda, many high tech companies have contributed to Khanna only because he kept asking for thier support. He also sold them on his vision for a thriving middle class in the US, Khanna has concrete ideas on how to put people back to work.
    Honda, in contrast, has no ideas on how to put people back to work, the middle class in the US has just been decimated under his watch in Congress. To me the choice here is simple, you can go with Mike Honda – who moves like a turtle and get’s nothing done in DC, or you can to with this Ro Khanna fellow, a guy that will outwork everybody in DC, if given the chance to serve in Congress. People that work hard get stuff done.

  • JohnW

    Fair question, but a separate issue.

    Most economists and policy wonks, both conservative and liberal, agree that it is unfortunate that health insurance and employment were ever linked in the first place — an unintended consequence of the WW2 wage freeze. Many conservatives want to start de-linking it. Liberals tend to oppose the idea, because negotiating over health care gives unions a reason to exist.

    If ObamaCare enables people to make rational employment decisions, independent of health care considerations, I would call that a pro-marketplace idea, not a disincentive to work.

  • Marga

    Not to state the obvious, but unlike Ro, Honda has a full time job as a US Congressman.

    Personally, I can’t fault him for not spending all his time campaigning /or/ fundraising. Money doesn’t come free, there are always strings attached.

  • Elwood

    I wouldn’t swear to it John, but based on what I’ve read, your interpretation seems to be unique.

  • Elwood

    Always good to hear from Ro’s staff.

    Keep up the good work, boys and girls!

  • JohnW

    That’s because conservatives trash their own ideas when a Democrat uses them. Not saying Obamacare is fundamentally a conservative program. There’s plenty of entitlement in it. But what I said about the accidental history of a WW2 wage freeze and the unintended consequences for the health care system is absolutely true. It is also absolutely true that conservatives have generally advocated de-coupling employment and health care (and unions have opposed that); until, of course, Democrats passed legislation that might actually move us in that direction. Nothing “unique” about what I’ve said in this response.