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CA17: Honda-Khanna on NY Times’ front page

NYT national edition 2-6-2014Former Obama administration official Ro Khanna’s electoral challenge to Rep. Mike Honda continues to make national news, appearing today on the front page of the New York and national editions of the New York Times.

“Here in the land of technology start-ups, Ro Khanna is its political version,” starts the story by Norimitsu Onishi. “Backed by many of Silicon Valley’s top investors and executives at Google, Facebook, Yahoo and other tech companies, Mr. Khanna, a 37-year-old patent lawyer who has never held elected office, has mounted an aggressive campaign for the seat from the 17th Congressional District in the heart of the Valley.”

Posted on Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | No Comments »

CA17: Khanna rips Honda’s PAC, out-of-state $$$

Congressional candidate Ro Khanna’s campaign is calling attention to incumbent Rep. Mike Honda’s increasing collection of contributions from people outside the 17th Congressional District and from political action committees.

honda.jpgCrunching numbers from reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week, Khanna’s campaign noted in a news release Tuesday that Honda, D-San Jose, raised almost $79,000 from PACs in last year’s final quarter, bringing his total 2013 PAC haul to about $313,000 – about 28 percent of his total contributions in the 2014 cycle so far.

Also, more than half of Honda’s individual contributions in the last quarter – about $117,000 – came from outside California, bring his total percentage raised from outside the state in this sycle to 47 percent. About one-fourth of his individual contributions in the fourth quarter came from the Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. area.

Khanna – a Democrat and former Obama administration official from Fremont – has refused to accept any PAC contributions and has received about 80 percent of his contributions from within California. Khanna raised about $425,000 in the last quarter of 2013, while Honda raised about $251,000; Khanna finished the year with $1.97 million cash on hand, while Honda had $623,000 in the bank.

Ro Khanna“We believe these fundraising numbers tell an important story,” Leah Cowan, Khanna’s campaign manager, said in the news release. “One candidate is increasingly reliant on out-of-state and special interest contributions. The other will be answerable to the individuals he represents.”

A spokesman for Honda’s campaign declined to comment Tuesday.

But Kyle Kondik, an expert on congressional elections at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said seeing an incumbent raise more money from outside the district and from PACs than his challenger “strikes me as pretty common.”

“Members of the House can develop a national constituency based on their record in Congress, which a challenger lacks,” he said. “A lot of national contributors won’t want to rock the boat unless they really dislike the incumbent or believe he or she will lose. … Also, while the sources of contributions are definitely worth reporting, I don’t think that attacks by one candidate against the other for contributions are all that meaningful, unless the candidate got a contribution from a very shady/controversial source.”

One other thing I noticed in the FEC reports. If you really want to get down to the grassroots, consider that all contributions of less than $200 are added together and reported as a lump sum under the line item “unitemized contributions.” Khanna’s unitemized contributions for 2013 totaled $42,421 while Honda’s totaled $88,824 – so Honda raised twice as much in small contributions as Khanna did.

Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2014
Under: campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

CA17: Video of Khanna praising Honda in 2012

Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign is touting video of Democratic challenger Ro Khanna singing Honda’s praises at a party event in 2012:

“I do want to acknowledge our great congressional team that represents this area. We of course have Congressman Mike Honda, and I think everyone says good things about Congressman Honda. And the one thing that I can add, having been in Washington, is Congressman Honda of course is an outstanding representative for our area but he is also the one person in the entire United States Congress who, if there’s an issue concerning the Asian-American community anywhere, or if there’s an issue the administration wants to know about Asia, they go to Congressman Honda. So it’s a privilege to have him from this area.”

The video was shot in March 2012. Khanna – who amassed a huge campaign bankroll in late 2011 when people assumed he would be running to succeed Rep. Pete Stark in the 15th District – formally announced his candidacy challenging Honda in April 2013, although by then it had been the Bay Area’s worst-kept political secret for several months.

“His campaign touts that ‘Mike hasn’t changed.’ That’s exactly the problem, and it’s clear with this kind of silly attack,” Khanna spokesman Tyler Law said Thursday. “What the people of the 17th District don’t need is more stale, tired political games. They need, and deserve, a real debate about ideas for the future. That’s a debate Ro is ready to have. We hope Congressman Honda can ‘change’ enough to allow for that.”

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

CA17: Khanna & Honda spar over campaign money

South Bay congressional candidate Ro Khanna and Rep. Mike Honda are challenging each other to put their money where their mouths are – or rather, to give up some of that money.

Khanna, a Democrat from Fremont, sent a letter Thursday to Honda, D-San Jose, asking the congressman to shun any independent expenditure committee or super PAC support in the 17th Congressional District race.

“I was encouraged to see your Tweet yesterday about your co-sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 25, to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United. We are in complete agreement on this important issue. Unlimited spending by outside special interest groups is polluting our politics,” Khanna wrote.

“Let’s stand together with the other candidates in this race and take the same People’s Pledge Senator Elizabeth Warren and her opponent did to keep independent expenditures out of their race in 2012,” he wrote. “Senator Warren and Scott Brown agreed to pay a penalty of 50 percent the cost of any TV, radio, or Internet advertising by an outside group – whether that ad supported the candidates themselves or aimed to attack their opponent. The money would be donated to a charity chosen by the other candidate. I believe we should embrace this landmark agreement and expand it to include direct mail expenditures as well. By saying no to all forms of advertising from outside groups, we are taking real stand against Citizens United.”

It worked well in that Massachusetts Senate race, Khanna noted.

“I hope you will take this pledge with me – and join me in asking any other candidates who may enter this race to do the same,” he wrote. “As the heart of Silicon Valley, the 17th District is our nation’s capital of innovation. We have a real opportunity to lead on this issue, too.”

Khanna already has pledged not to accept any direct contributions from PACs or federally registered lobbyists – though it’s not as if a lot of that money would be raining down upon him anyway as he challenges a seven-term incumbent. The same goes for independent expenditures and super PACs: While some might come Khanna’s way, Honda probably would benefit more, and so would lose more by taking this pledge.

Khanna’s campaign started this year with $1.97 million cash on hand while Honda had $622,000 banked, so this might not be an easy principle for Honda to stand on.

Then again, Honda has been outspoken in his opposition to Citizens United and the rampant independent spending it has bred:

Honda tweet

Doug Greven, Honda’s campaign manager, responded to Khanna campaign manager Leah Cowan on Thursday night. Apparently Honda won’t commit to a pledge against IE and super PAC funding, but Greven made a counter-offer:

In the true spirit of keeping undue influence out of this election, we propose limiting contributions to all candidates in this race to an amount that puts millionaires on a level playing field with ordinary folks: $570. This is the same limit as local elections in the city of Fremont, in our district.

We propose that all campaigns refund contributions to any donors who have already given more than this limit of $570. Your campaign can start by refunding the $11,000 in contributions from the five donors who have already requested a refund because Ro misled them. He had asked for their max-out contributions to run for an open seat, then used their money to run in a different district — against Mike.

Then your campaign can continue by refunding contributions to Marc Leder (gave $5,200 to Ro) who hosted Mitt Romney for the fundraiser where he made his 47% remark, and Peter Thiel (gave $2,500 to Ro) who has given millions to the Club for Growth in order to elect far-right conservatives like Ted Cruz.

We look forward to your response.

Asked whether this means Honda won’t consider the anti-IE pledge, Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan replied, “Any serious proposal to change campaign financing in this race would need to include reducing the amount that can be given directly to any campaign.”

Seeing as how the first part of this proposal would entail Khanna’s campaign jettisoning the vast majority of the tremendous bankroll it has raised, I feel confident in guessing the answer will be: “Fat chance.”

UPDATE @ 8:41 A.M. FRIDAY: Cowan replied to Greven late last night.

Hi Doug,

I appreciate your note, but I think it’s off topic.

Yesterday Congressman Honda tweeted that he supports amending the US Constitution to reverse Citizens United. Ro agrees.

Citizens United ruled that corporations are people and that individuals have the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. I think you are aware that reversing Citizens United has nothing to do with the issues you raised in your note.

Does Congressman Honda support reversing Citizens United or doesn’t he?

Does he think the reversal of Citizens United should apply to all candidates, or would he write exceptions into the United States Constitution?

We have a real opportunity in this race to stand up against special interests and do something that the voters are demanding: change business as usual in Washington. I hope that Congressman Honda will reconsider his position and join Ro in this pledge.

Yours Truly,

Posted on Thursday, January 23rd, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

CA17: GOP candidate claims $100,000 haul

A Republican challenger to Rep. Mike Honda says she raised $100,000 in her campaign’s first five days – but two parts of that statement bear further explanation.

Dr. Vanila Singh, 43, of Fremont, filed her initial candidacy papers just last week.

Dr. Vanila Singh“People are tired of career politicians who are only concerned about their careers and not the jobs of the American people,” she said in a news release issued Tuesday. “My message is that we need to solve problems and find solutions. When someone is on an operating table you come to quick solutions in the interest of the patient. In government, that solution is often set aside for petty politics.”

Asked for more details, Singh campaign consultant Jason Klindt acknowledged later Tuesday that this initial $100,000 haul includes $25,000 from the candidate herself. He said he couldn’t provide more information about how many donors gave the other $75,000, or how much of that money came from within the 17th Congressional District; the campaign will have to disclose that later to the Federal Election Commission.

Also, a 2012 voter registration database showed Singh was registered without any party affiliation, not as a Republican. Klindt said Tuesday that Singh “updated her registration as she filed for Congress.”

Singh – now the third Asian-American candidate in the continental United States’ first majority-Asian-American district – might have to fight for notice in a race that’s already drawing national attention as former Obama administration official Ro Khanna, a Democrat, takes on Honda, D-San Jose.

With Honda being one of the House’s most liberal members and Khanna slightly less so, Singh likely would siphon more nonpartisan and Republican votes – some of the anybody-but-Honda bloc – from Khanna’s campaign than from Honda’s.

But both Democrats are far better funded (though Khanna has been outraising Honda significantly), and the district’s voter-registration breakdown is 44.4 percent Democrat, 31.5 percent nonpartisan and 18.9 percent Republican. So, at first glance, it seems unlikely she could surpass either Democrat to finish first or second in June’s “top-two” primary and proceed to November’s general election.

Singh is a clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University, where she treats patients with complex pain management issues; she’s also a married mother of two. She graduated from George Washington University Medical School in 1997 and received further training at Yale, Cornell and Columbia; she taught as a clinical assistant professor at UCLA before coming to Stanford. Though born in India, she’s a graduate of Fremont public schools and of UC-Berkeley.

“I have a strong desire to serve because I have lived the American Dream,” she said. “We need to get our country back on track. We have to create a climate where small businesses can create jobs and reduce the size and scope of government.”

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 22 Comments »

CA17: A few Khanna contributors want refunds

Three contributors to South Bay congressional candidate Ro Khanna’s campaign want their money back.

They gave to the Fremont Democrat during the final quarter of 2011, in which he shattered fundraising records with a $1.2 million haul. At the time, it was widely believed he would run to succeed Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, in the 15th Congressional District; instead, he later chose to run against Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, this year in the 17th Congressional District. And these three contributors are Mike Honda fans.

After consulting with Honda’s campaign, they sent this e-mail to Khanna on Monday morning:

Dear Ro,

In 2011, you asked us to contribute to your campaign to be Pete Stark’s successor when he retired. You are an energetic, smart person who shared our values, so we gave you $6,000 to support this goal.

But you are not using our money the way you promised. Instead, you’re using it to run against Congressman Mike Honda, a man who has spent his life increasing opportunities for people to better themselves, including you. We cannot support you in this and we don’t want our money to play any part in it either.

We request a refund of the $6,000 we gave you under the false pretense that you would use it to run in an open seat, which you clearly are not doing now. We did not give you the money to replace Congressman Mike Honda — a well-respected, accomplished, former Japanese internment camp survivor, former science educator, Asian-American trailblazer and legislator.

Sophia Yen
Steve Silberstein
Ted Fang

“I want people to know who we are backing and who we feel should win,” Yen, 42, of Los Altos, said Monday afternoon. “I love Mike Honda and I think he’s well qualified and has done so much.”

A clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford Medical School and a physician at the Center for Adolescent Health in Mountain View, Yen gave Khanna’s campaign $1,000 on Nov. 30, 2011, and said Monday she hopes Khanna “will be honorable” and refund her contribution. She said she knows Khanna from having worked alongside him on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and for other causes: “I feel bad, but I’d feel worse if he were to take out Mike Honda.”

Fang, 50, of San Francisco – president and executive director of the AsianWeek Foundation and a former editor and publisher of the San Francisco Examiner and AsianWeek – gave Khanna’s campaign $2,500 on Dec. 8, 2011. He declined comment further Monday, saying the email speaks for itself.

Silberstein, 70, of Belvedere, the retired co-founder of a company that makes software for libraries and a prolific philanthropist and Democratic donor, gave Khanna’s campaign $2,500 on Oct. 18, 2011. He couldn’t be reached for comment Monday and Tuesday.

They’re not getting their money back, Khanna campaign manager Leah Cowan said Tuesday.

“Ro has been running a positive campaign focused on his ideas and vision for the future of the Bay Area and our nation,” she said. “Since launching his campaign to represent California’s 17th district, Ro has received support from many people who contributed to Congressman Honda in the past. We’re not aware that any of them have requested to be reimbursed by the Honda campaign, nor would we expect the Honda campaign to honor such a request. Because this donation to Ro was made almost two years ago, it would be impractical to return at this point.”

Also Tuesday, Khanna’s campaign launched a “Truth Squad” – with its own Facebook and Twitter accounts – which it described as a group of volunteers in the district “committed to confronting distortions with facts.”

“Ro’s candidacy is about engaging a broad group of voters and allowing them to make an informed choice on the kind of representative they want in Washington. But Ro’s opponents aren’t confident they can win on the truth alone – and that’s why they have been making baseless attacks since we launched this campaign,” Khanna spokesman Tyler Law wrote in an e-mail announcing the effort. “When you sign up for the Truth Squad, you’ll get updates and tip sheets so you can make sure your friends, neighbors, and family have the facts about this race. All information that you find on the site will be fully sourced so you can see where we got it.”

UPDATE @ 4:25 P.M.: It seems the “Truth Squad” needs a dose of its own medicine.

In a post that sought to shore up Khanna’s Democratic bona fides, the campaign listed a dozen “local Democratic officials” who support his candidacy. But three of those officials – Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, former Newark Mayor Dave Smith and former Cupertino Mayor Richard Lowenthal – actually are registered Republicans. And I’m hearing that a fourth – Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward – has either made a dual endorsement or no endorsement at all in this race. Click to enlarge:

Truth Squad screencap

Law said this was a minor, behind-the-scenes snafu in which a few local endorsers inadvertently were added to a list of Democratic supporters, and it will be changed immediately.

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 37 Comments »

CA17: Khanna challenges Honda to debates

South Bay congressional candidate Ro Khanna on Wednesday challenged fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda to meet him for at least four debates before June’s primary election.

Khanna said the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX 5, and NBC Bay Area had all expressed interest in hosting primary debates, while other non-local outlets like The Huffington Post and TechCrunch might be interested, too.

Ro Khanna“The modest debate schedule I’m proposing will allow voters to make a fully informed decision about who will best represent them in Congress,” Khanna said in a news release. “Voters are tired of old-style politics and campaigns that consist of little more than sloganeering and demagoguery. With the challenges our nation faces today, the voters deserve better.”

Khanna, a former Obama administration official from Fremont, went on to say that 17th District residents will benefit from a public airing of the issues. “It’s one way to start restoring public confidence in Congress, which is at an all-time low.”

The current House calendar offers plenty of opportunities for Honda, D-San Jose, to return to the district for debates, Khanna said, but he also offered to debate on weekends if necessary. He said he’ll designate a campaign staffer to reach out to Honda’s campaign and local media to start talks on dates, venues and formats.

“Congressman Honda is focused on his work improving the lives of his constituents,” Honda campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said via e-mail late Tuesday, after being asked whether Honda is open to debates. “Given how early it is (the full field of candidates isn’t set yet, and probably won’t be for a couple more months), the campaign has not made any decisions yet regarding debates.”

Debates – or the lack thereof – have played varying roles in a few recent campaigns.

It was at a 2012 pre-primary debate hosted by the League of Women Voters in Hayward where Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, made an unsubstantiated accusation of bribery against fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell – suddenly giving Swalwell a talking point and visibility he’d previously lacked. Further gaffes by Stark followed, and Swalwell eventually ended Stark’s 40-year house tenure.

That same year, Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken made much of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s refusal to meet her for any debates at all, accusing the incumbent of arrogance.

But Emken was running her campaign on a shoestring. “My opponent has virtually no campaign; her whole campaign has essentially been sticking her finger in my eye in one way or another,” Feinstein, D-Calif., said at the time, adding she wouldn’t give Emken’s “right-wing Republican views” a megaphone if Emken couldn’t find one herself. Most Californians apparently didn’t care – Feinstein won with 62.5 percent of the vote.

In this case, Khanna’s campaign had almost three and a half times as much money in the bank as Honda’s as of Sept. 30, so he can buy his own megaphone to capitalize on the public’s frustrations with Congress – including either a “he-won’t-debate-me” taunt, or whatever fodder a debate might yield.

Posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 19 Comments »

CA17: Ro Khanna signs up for Obamacare

South Bay congressional candidate Ro Khanna is using his own, positive experience with the Covered California health benefit exchange as a campaign asset.

Khanna, the former Obama administration official from Fremont who’s challenging Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in the 17th District, send an e-mail to supporters Wednesday saying he signed up for health insurance the night before.

“I’ve heard a lot of people criticize the website for being too slow or shutting down before they could finish. I had a good experience using Covered California — it didn’t take too long and I’m going to be paying less now than I was before,” he wrote. “Members of Congress sometimes forget what it is like for the rest of us because they are treated differently. As your Congressman, I promise that I will always think about you when I am making decisions – that is the sort of change that we need.”

The email included a link to this video:

In other CA-17 news, the Honda campaign was quick to use my Tuesday blog post about contributors to the campaigns in its own email to supporters – though it was used rather selectively.

An email from Honda campaign manager Doug Greven noted my report that Marc Leder and Peter Thiel – both prominent GOP donors – had contributed to Khanna’s campaign, as had Chamath Palihapitiya, who has donated to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign and said October’s government shutdown wasn’t a bad thing. The email’s subject line: “Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz & Ro Khanna.”

“What do some of the biggest backers of the Tea Party, and the host of the fundraiser where Mitt Romney made his infamous “47%” comment, have in common?” Greven wrote. “Probably a lot of things, but this one might surprise you: they are some of the biggest donors to Mike’s primary opponent. We need your help to fight back against the far-right conservatives trying to buy a Congressman to replace Mike.”

But Greven’s email didn’t note my point that California’s top-two primary system naturally means the anybody-but-Honda crowd will support whoever has the best chance of beating him, and given the district’s heavy Democratic and independent voter registration, that’s probably Khanna.

“This is what old-school politicians do — portray their opponent as a ‘friend of the devil’ to try to scare people into giving them money. It’s why our politics is so broken today,” replied Khanna spokesman Tyler Law. “He also fails to note that, during his career, he’s taken over a third of all his contributions from special-interest PACs, totaling millions of dollars. Ro has decided to forgo any contributions from PACs and federal lobbyists, because he believes that they have too much control over a Congress that consistently puts those special interests ahead of the interests of regular Americans.”

“Congressman Honda can choose to distort both Ro’s and his own fundraising practices in a desperate effort to raise money,” Law said. “But this kind of divisive, alarmist rhetoric doesn’t help solve our problems. It only exacerbates the dysfunction of our politics that has led to the least productive Congress in history and its record-low public standing.”

Posted on Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 14 Comments »

CA17: Examining a few Khanna & Honda donors

House candidates have until Jan. 31 to file their year-end campaign finance reports, and in the Bay Area, folks will be waiting with bated breath to see who has anted up for whom in the South Bay’s Democrat-on-Democrat battle for the 17th Congressional District.

So far, challenger Ro Khanna has enormously outraised incumbent Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose. Khanna had a bit over $1.9 millon cash on hand with about $36,000 in outstanding debts as of Sept. 30, while Honda had about $560,000 banked with $4,700 in outstanding debts.

And each side probably can find fault with some of the other side’s contributors.

Ro KhannaFor example, a few donors to Khanna’s campaign seem to be Republicans taking an “anybody-but-Honda” stance.

Marc Leder – the Florida hedge-fund executive who hosted the fundraiser at which Mitt Romney made his infamous “47 percent” comment, and who gave Romney and affiliated groups more than half a million dollars – contributed $5,200 to Khanna’s campaign. Khanna isn’t the only Democrat to whom Leder has contributed – he has given to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.; Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Fla.,; and a few others – but his money skews heavily toward the GOP.

Khanna also received $2,500 from billionaire PayPal cofounder, hedge fund manager and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, a libertarian-leaning GOP funder who has given $2.6 million to the Endorse Liberty PAC and $2 million to Club for Growth Action in recent years.

And Khanna received $5,100 from Bay Area venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, whose only other contribution in recent years was $5,000 to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Palihapitiya made waves during October’s government shutdown by saying “stasis in the government is actually good for all of us. It means they can neither do anything semi-useful nor anything really stupid.”

Such contributions seem an inevitable result of California’s top-two primary system, in which all candidates from all parties compete and the top two vote-getters advance to November regardless of party. The 17th District’s voters are 44.4 percent Democrats, 31.5 percent independents and 18.8 percent Republicans, giving GOP candidates precious little chance of advancing, so any challenger to Honda – among the House’s most liberal members – is likely to get support from a wider political spectrum.

honda.jpgOn the other hand, Khanna has stuck by his pledge not to take any money from political action committees, while Honda has accepted at least $165,335 from PACs, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ analysis. Labor has given Honda more PAC money than any other sector – $54,700 – but Democratic and social issue PACs, health sector PACs and communications/electronics sector PACs have anted up, too.

And Honda, unlike Khanna, accepts contributions from federally registered lobbyists. Among such contributions on Honda’s latest report: $500 from Micky Ibarra, whose firm’s clients have included various Latino organizations and the pharmaceutical industry’s trade group; $500 from Christopher Mitchell, a former Honda aide whose firm’s clients have included an electronics industry trade group and defense contractor General Dynamics; and $500 from Daron Watts, whose firm’s clients include several big pharmaceutical companies.

Posted on Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Lawmakers remember Newtown in varied ways

Tomorrow marks one year since the Newtown school shooting massacre, and as the nation considers what has and hasn’t happened as a result, Bay Area lawmakers are observing the awful anniversary in various ways.

Nancy PelosiHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, will speak at a Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America event Saturday morning at St. Vincent de Paul Church in San Francisco. She’ll be joined there by families of victims of gun violence.

“It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed since that horrific day – yet it’s even harder to believe that, despite so many promises of action, too many in Congress have advocated only inaction in the fight to prevent gun violence,” Pelosi said Friday. “In the wake this solemn anniversary, that must change. Indeed, our most lasting memorial to the victims of Newtown would be to enact a comprehensive agenda to prevent gun violence, starting with the bipartisan, King-Thompson legislation to expand background checks.”

Rep. Mike Thompson – co-author of that background-check bill and Pelosi’s appointed point man on gun violence issues – joined congresswomen Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn.; Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; and Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-DC, in an “act of kindness” Friday to mark the anniversary.

Mike ThompsonOfficials in Newtown have urged those who wish to honor the memory of the victims to engage in acts of kindness, and so the four House members helped prepare meals at Martha’s Table, a Washington, D.C, nonprofit that provides healthy meals and education rpograms to nearly 300 children, plus meals and groceries to hundreds of homeless and low-income people.

Thompson, D-Napa, and H.R. 1565 co-author Pete King, R-N.Y., issued a statement Friday noting that in the year since Newtown “more than 10,000 people have been killed by someone using a gun and Congress has done nothing to reduce gun violence. That is unacceptable.

“Congress needs to act, and we should start by passing our bipartisan background check bill so that criminals, terrorists, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill do not have easy access to guns,” the lawmakers wrote. “187 of our colleagues have co-authored this legislation and more have said they’d vote for it if the bill was brought to the floor. It’s time to get this bill passed and signed into law.”

honda.jpgAnd Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, will speak Saturday at a gun buyback event at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Jose, organized by a coalition of South Bay civic organizations. People will be able to anonymously exchange handguns for up to $200 in gift cards; Assemblywoman Nora Campos, San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel, City Councilman Xavier Campos, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen, and Father Jon Pedigo of Our Lady of Guadalupe also are scheduled to speak.

Honda on Friday called the buyback “a concrete step to get as many dangerous weapons off the streets at possible.”

“It has been one year since the tragic events at Newtown, and we will always remember those who are no longer with us. It is important to not only protect young children, however, but all of our citizens, and I will continue to fight for real change to our gun laws,” Honda said Friday, saying he has worked to increase funding for background checks and tried to block efforts to make it harder for police to track criminals using illegal guns. “Reducing needless gun violence is one of the key moral causes of our time.”

Posted on Friday, December 13th, 2013
Under: gun control, Mike Honda, Mike Thompson, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House | 13 Comments »