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CA17: Five statewide officials endorse Honda

Five of California’s eight statewide constitutional officers endorsed Rep. Mike Honda on Monday for re-election over Democratic challenger Ro Khanna in the 17th Congressional District.

Honda, D-San Jose, issued a news release saying he’s humbled to have the support of Attorney General Kamala Harris, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Treasurer John Chiang, Controller Betty Yee and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“I share their deep passion and commitment to solving problems facing many of California’s working families,” Honda said. “They represent the very best of what our state has to offer and I look forward to continuing my work with them.”

Harris, currently the frontrunner for the U.S. Senate seat from which Barbara Boxer will retire at year’s end, said that “from improving public safety, fighting to end human trafficking, and ensuring the civil rights of all people are protected – Mike has always been there.”

Yee said “Honda has been a tireless advocate for the people of Silicon Valley: securing funding for BART expansion, boosting critical research in nanotechnology, and fighting to ensure that every child has access to quality education.”

And Torlakson called Honda “an unwavering ally to California’s students and teachers. As a former science teacher and principal, education has always been one of his top priorities. Mike is working across the aisle to improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in our classroom’s, which will provide our children and country with the skills to stay competitive in this global economy.”

Among the other statewide constitutional officers, Secretary of State Alex Padilla has endorsed Khanna; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom endorsed Khanna in 2014 but has not yet made an endorsement for 2016; and Gov. Jerry Brown endorsed Honda in 2014 but has not yet made an endorsement for 2016.

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CA17: Sec’y of State Alex Padilla backs Ro Khanna

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has endorsed Democratic candidate Ro Khanna to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, in the 17th Congressional District.

Alex Padilla“Ro Khanna will help get Congress working again with his innovative ideas and freedom from special interests,” Padilla said in Khanna’s news release. “Ro’s commitment to building a grassroots campaign has shown me that he’s serious about increasing participation, and being accountable to the people he represents. I look forward to working with him as a United States Congressman.”

Khanna said he’s honored to have Padilla’s support. “As he did in leading the charge to bring automatic voter registration to California, Alex has proven he can offer new solutions and get things done. I look forward to working as his partner in Washington to bring about results for the people of California.”

This is Khanna’s second bid to unseat Honda, who is now serving his eighth House term. Honda defeated Khanna last year by 3.6 percentage points.

Padilla is the state’s second prominent Latino politician to endorse Khanna; state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, did so in September. The 17th District’s population is about 16 percent Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau‘s 2014 American Community Survey.

Other Democrats picking the challenger over the incumbent this year include San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone. Khanna also has peeled away two local officials who had endorsed Honda last year.

Honda recently announced his endorsement by Northern California House members Nancy Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren, Barbara Lee, Jerry McNerney, Jared Huffman and Ami Bera, as well as by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.

UPDATE AT 6:40 A.M. MONDAY: I’ve noticed now that Padilla had endorsed Honda in last year’s race.

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Padilla launches program to honor vets by voting

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla offered yet another solid reason Monday why you should vote – because someone you love fought or is fighting for your right to do so.

Padilla rolled out his new “Honor Veterans. Vote” program by holding a news conference with veterans and state military leaders at his office in Sacramento. The program will let Californians dedicate their vote in honor of a family member or friend who has served or is actively serving in the military.

“Throughout our nation’s history, brave service men and women have dutifully served and sacrificed to secure our most basic rights — including the right to cast a ballot during elections,” Padilla said in a news release. “The right to vote is more than an opportunity — it is a duty. We should honor our veterans and active duty service members by participating in the democracy that so many have fought to preserve.”

California citizens can visit honorveterans.sos.ca.gov to submit information about the veteran or active duty service member they wish to honor, including branch of service, rank, and years of service, and to give a brief dedication that may be included on the Secretary of State’s website. Those who participate can choose to receive a certificate or a lapel pin to proudly display appreciation for their honored veteran or active duty service member. Participants also can choose to have an email notification sent to the veteran/service member they’re honoring, notifying them of the tribute.

Although 16 other states operate similar programs, California could become the largest by far – nearly 2 million Californians are veterans, about 10 percent of all veterans living in the United States.

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Alex Padilla to stump for Clinton in Reno

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Friday in Reno.

Alex PadillaPadilla, a former three-term president of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), will host a meeting with Latino leaders at the Hillary for Nevada Reno headquarters at 1:30 p.m., visit local small businesses owners at 2:40 p.m., and speak at the Washoe County Democrats Virginia Demmler Honor Roll Dinner at 6:30 p.m.

“I share Hillary Clinton’s commitment to voting rights and expanding access to the ballot box,” Padilla said in a Clinton campaign news release. “That’s why I sponsored California’s New Motor Voter Act, which will remove a needless barrier to registration and result in the largest sustained voter registration drive in our nation’s history. While many states are making it harder for citizens to vote, I am proud that California is providing a positive example of how we can and should expand access to the polls.”

Clinton has called for universal, automatic voter registration, so every citizen in every state would be automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they actively choose to opt out. She also wants a new national standard of no fewer than 20 days of early in-person voting in every state, including opportunities for weekend and evening voting.

“Hillary Clinton believes that every voting-age citizen has the right to vote, and by making universal voter registration a reality for everyone, we make it much easier for Americans to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” Padilla continued. “From fighting for immigration reform to helping small businesses grow, Hillary has laid out a plan to strengthen our democracy and our economy, and I’m proud to stand with her in this election.”

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Padilla chalks up win on eve of East Bay visit

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla arrives in the East Bay on Wednesday with a legislative win under his belt.

Alex PadillaThe Assembly on Tuesday approved a bill that Padilla sponsored, AB 1461, to modernize California’s motor-voter registration system so that every eligible citizen who goes to a Department of Motor Vehicles office to get or renew a driver’s license or state ID will be registered – potentially adding millions to the rolls. Voters would retain their right to opt out or cancel their voter registration at any time, and the bill would protect those covered by existing confidentiality policies such as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The bill, jointly authored by Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego; Luis Alejo, D-Salinas; and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, now goes to the state Senate.

“Government has a responsibility to facilitate the civic participation of citizens and remove barriers to voting,” Padilla said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon. “The New Motor Voter Act could seamlessly register millions of eligible California citizens, which would promote greater voter turnout.”

Padilla is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech Wednesday morning at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony at Oakland’s Paramount Theater; about 1,000 new citizens are expected to take the Oath of Allegiance at the ceremony.

And Padilla also is scheduled to be the guest speaker at the City of Alameda Democratic Club’s monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at the College of Alameda Student Center. He’s expected to discuss his office’s work to encourage higher voting participation and bring more Californians into the political process.