Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2000, 7th term.

Born: June 27, 1941, Walnut Creek

Home: San Jose

Education: San Jose St. U., B.S. 1969, B.A. 1970, M.A. 1973

Professional Career: Peace Corps, 1965-67; Elem. schl. principal, 1978-90.

Ethnicity: Asian/Pacific American

Religion: Protestant

Family: widowed , 2 children

Democrat Mike Honda, first elected in 2000, is as liberal as any House member, but he is not as outspoken or confrontational as many of his like-minded colleagues. Instead of taking high-profile leadership roles, Honda prefers to put together coalitions for causes that might not otherwise get attention. “He really puts the K in ‘Kumbaya,’” San Jose State University political scientist Larry Gerston told the San Jose Mercury News.

Honda’s grandparents came to the United States from Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture, which served as the primary battleground for the Seinan Civil War in the 1870s (memorialized in the film The Last Samurai). Honda was born in Walnut Creek and spent 14 months during his childhood in a World War II internment camp in Colorado. In 2011, he recalled his father saying during that time “how the internment was unjust, unconstitutional, and, as a result, we just have to excel in everything we do.” His wife, Jeanne, who died of cancer in 2004, was born in Hiroshima and survived the atomic attack before immigrating to the United States several years later. Honda received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Jose State University and served two years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, where he became fluent in Spanish and gained a passion for teaching.

Honda worked as a science teacher, and then was a principal at two area elementary schools from 1978 to 1986. During that period, he also served on the San Jose Unified School Board. He was then elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. In 1996, he was elected to the California Assembly, where he worked to reduce classroom sizes and increase teacher benefits.

In 2000, Republican Rep. Tom Campbell decided to run against Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. At first, Honda was reluctant to run for what was then the 15th District seat, but persuasive telephone calls from several leading House Democrats and, finally, from President Bill Clinton, changed his mind. Honda won the primary overBill Peacock, a venture capitalist, 67% to 24%. His Republican opponent was Assemblyman Jim Cunneen, a Campbell protégé who was strongly supported by national GOP leaders and many Silicon Valley capitalists. Cunneen had liberal positions on cultural issues, and he tried to depict the contest as a referendum on the old economy versus the new. Honda, despite his close ties to unions, supported normal trade relations with China, a position strongly backed by the high-tech industry. He won 54%-42%, and has coasted to reelection ever since.

Honda is ranked among the most liberal House members, according to National Journal’s annual rankings. As budget task force chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, he offered a budget proposal in March 2012 calling for $2.4 trillion in job-creating investments; it was defeated 78-346. He has chaired the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, which advocates for underrepresented groups on issues such as immigration. He denounced Arizona’s decision to broaden police powers to detain suspected illegal immigrants in 2010 and said centrist congressional Democrats should not fear the political consequences of tackling comprehensive immigration reform. “Leadership is not only following what constituents want, but also leading them,” he said. He helped to enact a cyber-security law that funds training and programs to protect computer data and networks.

On foreign policy, Honda opposed the 2009 troop surge in Afghanistan and chaired the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ task force on that country. In 2007, with help from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he got a seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He has focused on trying to win full funding for education programs, many of which are financed at levels well below what is called for in the enabling legislation.

An important cause for Honda is eliciting apologies for past abuses from Japan, and he has publicized the cause of American POWs in World War II who were transported on “hell ships” to work as slave laborers in Japan. In 2007, Honda won House passage of a resolution calling on Tokyo to apologize for forcing as many as 200,000 women into sexual slavery during the war. His efforts have generated controversy in Japan, and The New York Times referred to Honda as “one of the most famous American congressmen in his ancestral land.” In February 2011, he joined the call for an official U.S. apology for the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which suspended Chinese immigration and made Chinese in the United States ineligible for citizenship; the House passed the resolution the following year.

Another of Honda’s passions is addressing low voter turnout in national elections, a situation he calls a “serious illness.” As vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2008 campaign, Honda crisscrossed the nation to try to spark more participation by Asian-Americans in the election. In the 2012 election, he helped make the argument that Asian-Americans should reelect President Barack Obama. “I think his style is very Asian-American, thoughtful; he doesn’t make snap decisions,” Honda said. He also sought to persuade the technology industry to give the president another term. Honda himself was reelected with 74% of the vote in the new 17th District in 2012.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2631

(202) 225-2699

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1713
Washington, DC 20515-0517

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2631

(202) 225-2699

LHOB- Longworth House Office Building Room 1713
Washington, DC 20515-0517

DISTRICT OFFICE

(408) 436-2720

(408) 436-2721

900 Lafayette Street Suite 206
Santa Clara, CA 95050

DISTRICT OFFICE

(408) 436-2720

(408) 436-2721

900 Lafayette Street Suite 206
Santa Clara, CA 95050

DISTRICT OFFICE

(855) 680-3759

Main Library (Second floor)
Fremont, CA 94538

DISTRICT OFFICE

(855) 680-3759

Main Library (Second floor)
Fremont, CA 94538

DISTRICT OFFICE

(855) 680-3759

Newark Library
Newark, CA 94560-3766

DISTRICT OFFICE

(855) 680-3759

Newark Library
Newark, CA 94560-3766

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

300 South First Street Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95113

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(408) 641-1717

300 South First Street Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95113

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Aerospace

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Agriculture

Alice Lin
Fellow

alice.lin@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Animal Rights

Cathy Ming Hyde
Constituent Services Director

cathy.hyde@mail.house.gov
(408) 436-2720

Alice Lin
Fellow

alice.lin@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Appropriations

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Budget

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Economics

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Alice Lin
Fellow

alice.lin@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Education

Edwin Tan
District Director

edwin.tan@mail.house.gov
(408) 436-2720

Energy

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Environment

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Family

Helen Beaudreau
Legislative Assistant

Robert Lucas
Legislative Correspondent; Online Communications and Technology Director

rob.lucas@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Foreign

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Helen Beaudreau
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Homeland Security

Yusuf Parray
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Human Rights

Helen Beaudreau
Legislative Assistant

Yusuf Parray
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Robert Lucas
Legislative Correspondent; Online Communications and Technology Director

rob.lucas@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Immigration

Alice Lin
Fellow

alice.lin@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Intelligence

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Judiciary

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Labor

Helen Beaudreau
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Minorities

National Security

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Native Americans

Science

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Seniors

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Small Business

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Alice Lin
Fellow

alice.lin@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Social Security

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Tax

Yusuf Parray
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Technology

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Mark Mozena
Policy Advisor

Telecommunications

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Trade

Yusuf Parray
Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Transportation

Eric Werwa
Deputy Chief of Staff; Legislative Director

eric.werwa@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Veterans

Dave Majumdar
Communication and Legislative Fellow

Women

Helen Beaudreau
Legislative Assistant

Robert Lucas
Legislative Correspondent; Online Communications and Technology Director

rob.lucas@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2631

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Mike Honda
Votes: 159,392
Percent: 73.54%
Evelyn Li
Votes: 57,336
Percent: 26.46%
2012 PRIMARY
Mike Honda
Votes: 60,252
Percent: 66.7%
Evelyn Li
Votes: 24,916
Percent: 27.58%
Charles Richardson
Votes: 5,163
Percent: 5.72%
2010 GENERAL
Mike Honda
Votes: 126,147
Percent: 67.6%
Scott Kirkland
Votes: 60,468
Percent: 32.4%
2010 PRIMARY
Mike Honda
Votes: 57,662
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Mike Honda
Votes: 170,977
Percent: 71.66%
Joyce Stoer Cordi
Votes: 55,489
Percent: 23.26%
Peter Myers
Votes: 12,123
Percent: 5.08%
2008 PRIMARY
Mike Honda
Votes: 46,652
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (68%), 2008 (72%), 2006 (72%), 2004 (72%), 2002 (66%), 2000 (54%)

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