Mike Honda

Mike Honda
Michael Makoto Honda
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th district
Assumed office
3 January 2001
Preceded by Tom Campbell
Member of the
California State Assembly
from the 23rd district
In office
Preceded by Dominic L. Cortese
Succeeded by Manny Diaz
Personal details
Born June 27, 1941 (1941-06-27) (age 70)
Walnut Grove, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Deceased
Residence San Jose, California
Alma mater San Jose State University
Occupation Teacher, high school principal
Religion Non-denominational Protestant

Michael Makoto "Mike" Honda (Japanese: 本田実) (born June 27, 1941) is an American Democratic Party politician. He currently serves as the U.S. Representative for California's 15th congressional district, encompassing western San Jose and Silicon Valley. He has been serving since 2001.



Young Mike Honda (far left) with his family

A Japanese American, Honda was born in Walnut Grove, California in 1941 and spent his early childhood in Granada War Relocation Center, an internment camp in Colorado. After spending a decade in Chicago, Illinois following their release, the family returned to California in 1953,[1] where they became strawberry sharecroppers in Blossom Valley in San Jose.

Honda first attended Andrew P. Hill High School, then transferred to and graduated from San Josė High Academy. He entered San Josė State University, but interrupted his studies from 1965 to 1967 to serve in the United States Peace Corps in El Salvador, where he learned excellent Spanish. He returned to San Josė State, where in 1968 he received a Bachelor degree degree in biological sciences and Spanish. He continued at San Josė State, earning a Master's degree in Education (1974).

In his 30-year career as an educator, Honda was a science teacher, a school board member, and a principal at two public schools, and he conducted educational research at Stanford University.

Political career

Honda as a teacher at Sunnyvale High School

In 1971 San Josė Mayor Norman Mineta appointed Honda to the city's Planning Commission. In 1981 Honda was elected to the San Jose Unified School Board. He was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 1990, and to the California State Assembly in 1996, where he served until 2001.

Honda receives an award from the Peace Corps

Honda won the Democratic nomination for the 15th District, which had once been represented by Mineta, in 2000 after Republican incumbent Tom Campbell made an unsuccessful bid for the United States Senate. Campbell had won the seat in a 1995 special election and held it for two full terms, all by fairly convincing margins, despite the fact the district leaned Democratic. However, the district reverted to form in 2000, as Honda won by a convincing 12-point margin. He has been re-elected four times with no substantive opposition.

From 2001 to 2006 Honda served on the Science Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appointed Honda to the influential Appropriations Committee. Honda also serves as Regional Whip for Northern California and Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

Rep. Honda has consistently supported[2] the causes of civil rights groups, such as the NAACP and Human Rights Campaign.

In November 2004, Honda was among those invited to spend the evening with Presidential candidate John Kerry in Boston, Massachusetts on election night.[3] In February 2005 Honda was elected a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee under the chairmanship of Howard Dean.

Honda has close ties with the Chinese-American community. In May 2007 he was initiated into the San Francisco Lodge of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. He is the first regular member of the organization who is not of Chinese ancestry.[4]

During the 2008 electoral campaign,[5] Honda made a Spanish-language appearance in a political advertisement on television which endorsed the re-election of Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá,[6] who would go to trial after the November 2008 elections for a 24-count federal Grand Jury indictment for corruption.[7]

On 3 October 2008, Honda voted in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.[8]

In 2009, Rep Honda was re-elected for a second term as DNC vice-chair, now under the chairmanship of former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Honda continues to serve as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Co-chair of the Democratic Caucus’ New Media Working Group, House Democratic Senior Whip and is the original author of the Equity and Excellence Commission now housed in the US Department of Education.

Honda’s legislative efforts have focused on education, civil rights, national service, immigration, transportation, the environment, and high-tech issues.

Committee assignments

Honda at the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the opening of a zero-emissions, hydrogen fuel cell bus program

Party leadership and caucuses

Issues and legislation

Silicon Valley, technology and nanotechnology

As the Representative covering the heart of Silicon Valley, Honda has been intimately involved in technology and nanotechnology policy for many years. In 2002 he introduced one of the first nanotech bills in Congress, the Nanocience and Nanotechnology Advisory Board Act of 2002,[9] which sought to establish a Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Advisory Board to advise the President on a range of policy matters. Such a board was recommended by the National Research Council in its review of the National nanotechnology Initiative, Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers.[10]

In 2003, he worked with then-Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), to introduce the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 [11] This bill authorized federal investments in nanotechnology research and development, restructured the National Nanotechnology Initiative to improve interagency coordination and the level of input from outside experts in the field, and laid the path to address novel social, ethical, philosophical, legal, environmental health issues that might arise. H.R. 766 was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 7, 2003 and was ultimately signed into law on December 3, 2003.[12]

Congressman Honda continued his interest in nanotech by convening the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology with then-controller Steve Westly in 2005.[13] This group met numerous times to discuss and develop strategies to promote the San Francisco Bay Area and all of California as the national and worldwide center for nanotechnology research, development and commercialization. Under the direction of Working Chair Scott Hubbard, then-Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center, the Task Force spent a year developing recommendations that would assure California a leading position in what could be a trillion-dollar economic sector. The recommendations were included in the BRTFN report, Thinking Big About Thinking Small.[14]

Rep. Honda developed two pieces of legislation based on the report: 1) the Nanomanufacturing Investment Act of 2005 and 2) the Nanotechnology Advancement and New Opportunities Act. Many provisions of these bills were included in larger pieces of legislation, the National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009 and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, that passed the House of Representatives in the 111th Congress.

Congressman Honda’s accomplishements in the field of nanotechnology policy has been recognized by the Foresight Institute, which awarded him its Foresight Institute Government Prize in 2006.[15]


Mike Honda believes that comprehensive immigration reform will lead to a stronger economy [16] and has publicly [17] called for a comprehensive immigration reform plan that reunites families, including LGBT families. He is a cosponsor of H.R. 4321 [18] the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act, which addresses border security, visa reforms, a pathway to legalization, reuniting families, and immigrant integration.

On March 21, 2010, Rep. Honda spoke [19] at the March for America, a rally for comprehensive immigration reform on the National Mall. Tens of thousands of activists and immigrants gathered at the March for America in support of comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

In the 111th Congress, Rep. Honda introduced H.R. 2709,[20] the Reuniting Families Act which includes provisions to allocate visas more efficiently, alleviate wait times that keep legal immigrants and their families separated for years, and decrease obstacles that prevent family members from obtaining visas. The bill includes the Uniting American Families Act, which eliminates discrimination in immigration law against same-sex, permanent partners and their families who are seeking to reunite.

Mike Honda is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Immigration Taskforce. In February 2010, Mike Honda and Rep. Jared Polis spearheaded a letter to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, and Speaker Pelosi urging the inclusion of LGBT families in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

Rep. Honda also introduced H.R. 3249,[21] the Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act of 2009, which provides assistance to immigrants seeking to integrate into the U.S. through English language and civics education classes.

Support of American Muslims

Honda has been a defender of the civil rights of American Muslims. Soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, Honda spoke at a convention of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) on October 2001. He told those in attendance not to change their identity or name. "My last name is Honda. You cannot be more Japanese than that." The congressman remembered what he and especially his parents had to go through when Pearl Harbor was attacked. "We were taken in a vehicle with windows covered, we had no idea where we were being taken." Because of that episode in his life, the congressman explained that he understood what the Muslims could be going through in America after the attack on September 11.[22]

In the Quran Oath Controversy of the 110th United States Congress, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) issued a letter to his constituents stating his view that the decision of Representative-elect Keith Ellison (D-MN) to use the Quran in his swearing-in ceremony is a threat to "the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America... I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies”.[23]

In a letter to Rep. Goode, Rep. Honda wrote:

I was surprised and offended to hear about a constituent letter you wrote in response to Representative-elect Keith Ellison's intention to use a Koran during his ceremonial swearing in ceremony... it is outrageous to cast aspersions on Representative-elect Ellison purely because of his religious background. Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, Muslims have been the subject of profoundly warped stereotypes in this country; stereotypes that are largely derived from a small percentage of extremist practitioners. An entire religious group has become scapegoats for the actions of a few fanatics whose beliefs they do not subscribe to. As one of the many Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II because of war hysteria and racial prejudice, I find it particularly offensive that you are equating Representative-elect Ellison’s beliefs with those of radical extremists and condemning him based on their actions. In your letter, you suggested that all Muslims in this country are immigrants and that immigration laws must be changed to "preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America" by stopping Muslims from entering. Representative-elect Ellison was born in the United States, and his family has lived here since 1742. He was raised Catholic before becoming a Muslim during college. The spread of ideas and philosophies cannot be stopped by barricading our borders, nor should it be.... Instead of fearing our diversity, Americans, and Members of Congress in particular, must embrace it. America became a great nation through the collaboration of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious and ethnic groups working together to advance our culture and economy.[24]

Comfort women

On the issue of comfort women, in 2007 Honda proposed United States House of Representatives House Resolution 121, which stated that Japan should formally acknowledge, apologize, and accept historical responsibility in a clear and unequivocal manner, refute any claims that the issue of comfort women never occurred, and educate current and future generations "about this horrible crime while following the recommendations of the international community with respect to the 'comfort women'."[25] Honda has stated that "the purpose of this resolution is not to bash or humiliate Japan."[26]

On 30 July 2007 the House of Representatives passed Honda's resolution after 30 minutes of debate, in which no opposition was voiced.[27] Honda was quoted on the floor as saying, "We must teach future generations that we cannot allow this to continue to happen. I have always believed that reconciliation is the first step in the healing process."[27]

Electoral history

United States House of Representatives elections, 2000[28]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Honda 128,545 54.3%
Republican Jim Cunneen 99,866 42.2%
Libertarian Ed Wimmers 4,820 2.0%
Natural Law Douglas C. Gorney 3,591 1.5%
Independent Phillip Kronzer 82 (write-in) 0.0%
Totals 236,904 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic gain from Republican
United States House of Representatives elections, 2002[29]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Honda (incumbent) 87,482 65.8%
Republican Linda Rae Hermann 41,251 31.0%
Libertarian Jeff Landauer 4,289 3.2%
Totals 133,022 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2004[30]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Honda (incumbent) 154,385 72.1%
Republican Raymond L. Chukwu 59,953 27.9%
Totals 214,338 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2006[31]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Honda (incumbent) 115,532 72.4%
Republican Raymond L. Chukwu 44,186 27.6%
Totals 159,718 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2008[32]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage
Democratic Mike Honda (incumbent) 170,977 71.7%
Republican Joyce Stoer Cordi 55,489 23.3%
Green Peter Myers 12,123 5.0%
Totals 238,589 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold


  1. ^ About Mike
  2. ^ http://www.vote-smart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=BS031306&type=category&category=Civil%20Rights
  3. ^ Peace Corps Online|2 November 2004: Headlines: COS - El Salvador: Politics: Election2004 - Honda: Election2004 - Kerry: The Hill: Mike Honda spends election evening with Senator Kerry
  4. ^ Chinese American Citizens Alliance National Organization - Salinas
  5. ^ Anibal Gobernador website
  6. ^ YouTube website
  7. ^ Primera Hora website
  8. ^ Clerk House website
  9. ^ "Thomas Bill Summary & Status: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Advisory Board Act of 2002". 16 October 2002. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:h.r.5669:. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers: A Review of the National Nanontechnology Initiative". 18 December 2002. http://www.nano.gov/html/res/small_wonders_pdf/smallwonder.pdf. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  11. ^ "Thomas Bill Summary & Status: Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003.". 13 February 2003. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:h.r.766:. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Epstein, Edward (8 May 2003). "Silicon Valley pins hopes on nanotechnology boom / U.S. ready to spend billions on revolutionary science". San Francisco Chronicle. http://articles.sfgate.com/2003-05-08/news/17489024_1_nanotechnology-silicon-valley-san-jose-democrat. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  13. ^ "Nanotechnology and the Future of California [Mr. Honda"]. 19 December 2005. http://science.house.gov/investigations/investigations_detail.aspx?NewsID=1019. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  14. ^ "BRTFN report, Thinking Big About Thinking Small"]. 19 December 2005. http://honda.house.gov/pdf/brtfn_report_final.pdf. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  15. ^ "Foresight Nanotech Institute Awards Feynman Prizes". 26 October 2006. http://www.foresight.org/cms/press_center/152. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  16. ^ "This Is the Year for Immigration Reform to Pass"]. 4 February 2010. http://www.rollcall.com/issues/55_87/-42959-1.html. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  17. ^ "Reid Calls Immigration Reform No. 3 Priority"]. 4 June 2009. http://www.rollcall.com/news/35531-1.html. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "CIR ASAP Act of 2009 "]. 15 December 2009. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR04321:. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Over 200,000 March for Immigration Reform"]. 21 March 2010. http://washingtonindependent.com/79892/over-200000-march-for-immigration-reform. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Reuniting Families Act "]. 19 August 2009. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.2709:. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  21. ^ "Strengthen and Unite Communities with Civics Education and English Skills Act of 2009 "]. 17 July 2009. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.3249:. Retrieved 6 October 2010. 
  22. ^ "Media Report of the 6th AMA National Convention". 18 October 2001. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/paksmit/message/2796. Retrieved 26 December 2006. 
  23. ^ Erika Howsare (19 December 2006). "Anti-Muslim letter goes out to hundreds — not all are amused". http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=141404064431134&ShowArticle_ID=11041812060944420. Retrieved 20 December 2006. 
  24. ^ "Rep. Honda 'Surprised and Offended' by Goode's Anti-Muslim Remarks". 21 December 2006. http://www.cair.com/default.asp?Page=articleView&id=2472&theType=NR. Retrieved 22 December 2006. 
  25. ^ "H. Res. 121: Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of Japan should formally...". http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hr110-121. Retrieved 23 March 2007. 
  26. ^ ""Comfort Women" Resolution Likely to Pass U.S. Congress". The Chosun Ilbo. 2 February 2007. Archived from the original on 13 March 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070313210236/http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200702/200702020014.html. Retrieved 30 March 2007. 
  27. ^ a b Epstein, Edward (31 July 2007). "House wants Japan apology". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/31/MN5KR9UB32.DTL. Retrieved 8 August 2008. 
  28. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress, (retrieved 29 July 2009)
  29. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved 29 July 2009)
  30. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved 29 July 2009)
  31. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved 29 July 2009)
  32. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved 29 July 2009)

External links

California Assembly
Preceded by
Dominic L. Cortese
California State Assemblyman, 23rd District
Succeeded by
Manny Diaz
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tom Campbell
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 15th congressional district

Succeeded by
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Sam Graves
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Steve Israel
D-New York

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