April 17, 2014

Daily Until June 3: Phone Bank for Mike Honda

Rep. Mike Honda (CA-17) is a longtime supporter and friend of the AAA-Fund. His work has directly matched and aided our own mission and goal. We encourage all to support him as he has supported us all in all his work.

Phone bank for Mike!

Mike Honda at San Jose High School

Join Mike Honda’s campaign and help re-elect him to Congress. Phone banks are held at the DCCC building, 430 S. Capitol Street S.E., Washington, DC. Every Wednesday from 6:30pm-9:30pm until the June 3rd primary, with additional times announced for the general election. Sign up here.

Congressman Honda is running to represent CA-17, the Silicon Valley district. He has been delivering for his district for over a decade in Congress. As Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Vice-Chair of the DNC for 6 years, Mike has been a leading voice in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community & a progressive champion for underserved and under-represented communities & a fierce advocate for the middle class, fighting for legislation that nurtures the tech industry in his Silicon Valley district and grows our innovation economy. His service has been recognized by his many endorsers, including President Barack Obama, Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris, and the California Democratic Party, among others.

His opponent Ro Khanna has amassed a questionably funded war chest and high-paid consultancy team which threatens to end Mike’s career of delivering for CA-17 and fighting for the progressive values we hold dear. We’ll even pardon Khanna’s unsavory ethical questions. Working on behalf of people like you inspires Congressman Honda’s work every day. Thus we hope you will help Mike in his time of need.

To volunteer, fill out this form or contact Seth Stein at 503-974-6026 or hondavolunteer@gmail.com. Forward this to anyone you think would be interested in helping Mike.

Thank you!

Colleen Hanabusa (2/2)

Colleen Hanabusa

Naturally, President Obama endorsed his own Hawaii state campaign head Brian Schatz for US Senate over the proven lead Colleen Hanabusa. I wrote 2 months ago about how Hanabusa provides not just any leadership or the party’s most well connected leadership but the most principled, focused & ideal leadership. Ignoring sustained junk politics like her age (which is a plus, but mean politics never sees that), we can all see the President will back his campaign staff while other Democrats back Hanabusa as it’s an all-Democratic field which leads to disillusionment over the political process that leads to political fragmentation & polarization that makes Congress what it is today.

Also, Obama’s been so unwilling to help any US Senate candidate except 1 other (then again, it’s desired). Unfortunate but understandable.

Today’s Honolulu Star Advertiser poll asks, “Should President Obama have endorsed his candidate in Hawaii’s Democratic race for U.S. Senate?” where you can vote your say. You know my say.

Update: Poll results agree, Obama should’ve stayed out of it.

2014 Elections

Editor’s Note: Richard’s writing below means he’s tracking it but not that the AAA-Fund gives an endorsement.

Election 2014 is well underway! Ones I’m looking at include:

Elected already

  • Suchada “Sue” Langley – elected Chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, the largest committee in Virginia. Dr. Langley is a retired USDA economist and Thai American.
  • Clarence Tong – elected Chair of the Alexandria Democratic Committee. Clarence works in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (CI) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). He is Chinese-American & was the Communications Director and Policy Director for Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA), who lost to and is running again in 2016 against Senator Toomey.

I’ll update this post regularly (3 edits already) for my own purposes, but all comments welcome below.

Good to do for any/all would be to tag politicians’ Wikipedia pages for Category:Members of the United States Congress of Asian descent or to edit this Wikipedia article.

Phung Jefferson for Judge

Editor’s Note: As our mission here is to support AAPIs in any & every way, we feature Phung Jefferson, a private attorney running for Clark County District Court Judge for Department 2. Filing for candidacy begins an often long road of many steps for all in US politics and we want you to publicize & support all AAPIs in this work. Note her June 10 primary election and Nov 4 general election dates so read, volunteer & publicize! Below is her biography which we share with you.

Phung Jefferson

My name is Phung Jefferson and I am running for Nevada Clark County District Court Judge in a nonpartisan race. I have a strong commitment to upholding the principles of equality and justice. There is no greater honor than being allowed the opportunity to serve our local community.

I was born in Nha Trang, S. Vietnam in 1970. My Vietnamese mother, American father and brothers arrived in the United States in 1976. I became a U.S. citizen at the age of 9 in 1979. I earned my Bachelor of Science from UNLV and Juris Doctor at Western State College of Law, in Fullerton, California. I opened my own private law practice in 2003 and argued an appeal for the Nevada Supreme Court shortly thereafter. This appeal resulted in a Court opinion which became controlling legal authority in Nevada [Hudson v. Jones, 138 P.3d 429 (Nev. 2006)].

Throughout my career, I have represented clients in jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, and hearings. I have served as legal council in many different areas, including criminal proceedings, family law matters, civil defense cases, and personal injury claims. I work hard to ensure that all clients I represent are provided with a deep understanding of the intricacies of their case, feel their interests have been presented accurately, and are able to fully communicate their needs.

In my spare time, I try to do my part to help to enrich our local community by providing free seminars regarding important topics such as domestic violence and how to plan for a career in law.

My heritage and my life experience have given me a unique perspective and a great deal of understanding. I am grateful to my family for providing me with a strong work ethic and a firm dedication to upholding that which is right. Please feel free to visit my webpage at www.phungjefferson.com.

Editor’s Note: We’ve also featured another AAPI in running for Clark County Judge, Judge Cheryl Moss.

Judge Cheryl Moss

Editor’s Note: As our mission here is to support AAPIs in any & every way, we feature Judge Cheryl Moss (JudgePedia, official website and biography, campaign website), a Judge of the 8th Judicial District Court, Family Division, Clark County, State of Nevada. She campaigns for another 6-year term in this year’s election. Having filed begins an often long road of many steps for all in US politics and we want you to publicize & support all AAPIs in this work. Note her June 10 primary election and Nov 4 general election dates so read, learn, volunteer & publicize! Below is her biography which we share with you.

Judge Cheryl Moss

Judge Cheryl Moss was elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2002 and 2008 to the 8th Judicial District Court, Family Division, Clark County, State of Nevada. She is currently serving a six-year term until 2014.

Judge Moss is the first Asian-American to be elected to a statewide judicial office in the State of Nevada’s history. She has served in public office as a District Court Judge since January 2001.

Judge Moss attended college at George Washington University then law school at the Catholic University of America, both in Washington, D.C. Judge Moss graduated in the top 25% of her law school class in 1994. She is licensed to practice law in Nevada, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.

After graduating law school and working as a judicial law clerk for Superior Court Judge John H. Bayly, Jr., in Washington, D.C., Judge Moss relocated in 1995 to Las Vegas.

In 1998, Cheryl owned and managed her solo law practice, The Law Office of Cheryl B. Moss, Chartered, practicing mainly in family law and personal injury law. In 1999, she received the Shining Star Award from the Clark County Pro Bono Project for her unselfish representation of low-income clients.

During her first year as a Family Court Judge, Judge Moss became the first Judge to implement a pilot program for referring parents in child custody cases for Problem Gambling Assessments. Judge Moss successfully launched the program with the help and coordination of the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

Judge Moss served on the Board of Trustees of the Clark County Law Library. She also volunteers her time judging in local and statewide competitions such as the UNLV Law School Moot Court Competition, the High School Mock Trial Competition, and previously with the Trial By Peers Program. Judge Moss also collaborates with the Southern Nevada Gang Prevention Task Committee.

Judge Moss has given several lectures in legal and medical seminars dealing with substance abuse disorders and addictive behaviors. She gave presentations for the National Business Institute, the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, Nellis Air Force Base, the Nevada Army Reserve Training Center, and at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Judge Moss has earned over 1000 hours of continuing legal education with a concentration in domestic relations law.

In August 2007, Judge Moss was the first Judge to graduate from the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program wherein Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Officers are trained to respond to emergency calls involving the mentally ill or those in crisis.

In 2011, Judge Moss was recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the U.S.

In 2013, Judge Moss received The Golden Pear Award for Professional Achievement from the Filipino American Heritage Foundation of Nevada.

This is now her 14th year as a Family Court Judge. Judge Moss is dedicated to her career in public service. Judge Moss is currently pursuing re-election to a 4th term on the bench this November 2014.

AAA-Fund Endorses Aneesh Chopra for VA Lt. Gov.

Editor’s Note: Aneesh lost 54-45. Aneesh looks forward to working with Sen. Northram in November.

AAAF logo

Contact: Gautam Dutta (202) 236-2048

AAA-Fund Endorses Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor

Asian Pacific American PAC Touts Unprecedented Opportunity to Elect First Asian American to Statewide Office in Virginia History

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Asian American Action Fund today endorsed Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. If elected, Chopra would be the first Asian American elected statewide in Virginia.

AAA-Fund Executive Director Gautam Dutta said, “Virginia has become a battleground state due to an influx of minority communities now making their home there. Aneesh’s background as the secretary of technology to Governor Tim Kaine and as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer under President Obama makes him an ideal candidate to strengthen Virginia’s middle class through his emphasis on innovation, technology and education. AAA-Fund is pleased to lend our strong support to his historic candidacy.”


AAA-Fund is a Democratic PAC with local chapters across the country devoted to strengthening the participation of Asian Pacific Americans in the political process.




The AAA-Fund is a Democratic political action committee whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Pacific Americans (APA) on every level of local, state and federal government in America. To achieve this goal, we address the chronic under-representation of APAs as campaign volunteers, campaign contributors, and candidates for political office. The AAA-Fund has endorsed candidates across the country. For more information, go to aaa-fund.org and read our award-winning blog.

‘Run, Ro, Run,’ Honda Responds to Challenger Khanna

Editor’s Note: This post is a re-posting of “‘Run, Ro, Run,’ Honda Responds to Challenger Khanna“. Mike is an AAA-Fund Honorary Board member and a 2012 AAA-Fund Endorsed Candidate.

Do more:

  • read about this race in our previous post
  • check our Twitter for snippets about this race & others; retweet our Tweet about this post

Rep. Mike Honda (second from right), who is being challenged for California’s Congressional District 17 seat by former Obama administration official Ro Khanna, is shown at the India Community Center’s recent 10th anniversary gala. Left to right: Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves; ICC co-founders Gautam Godhwani, Talat Hasan and Anil Godhwani; and San Jose city councilman Ash Kalra (far right). Anil Godhwani and Hasan’s husband Kamil are backing Khanna, while Kalra is endorsing Honda.

  • FREMONT, Calif., United States

    Rep. Mike Honda, who has served parts of California’s Silicon Valley in Congress since 2001, said he was unfazed by the prospect of a high-profile, deep-pocketed challenger to his 2014 re-election campaign to retain his Congressional seat in Northern California’s Silicon Valley.

    “It’s great to have the competition: it sharpens the focus,” Honda told India-West in a telephone interview, after former Obama administration official Ro Khanna announced April 2 his intent to unseat Honda in the 2014 general election.

    Both Honda and Khanna are Democrats. New California election mandates allow candidates from the same party to compete against each other in the general election, if they are the highest vote getters from either party in the primaries.

    “Ultimately, it’s the voters who decide. We have a highly educated, highly informed district who will make decisions based on the information presented to them,” said Honda, chairman emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “We have to present ourselves in a very transparent and open way.”

    Almost 20 months before the Nov. 4, 2014 general election, both campaigns have gone full court press. Honda received early endorsements from President Barack Obama; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; California Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer; California Attorney General Kamala Harris; and Rep. Ami Bera from Sacramento, the sole Indian American in the House. 

    In an Apr. 8 letter, five former Indian American congressional hopefuls threw their support behind Honda, including former Kansas state Representative Raj Goyle; New Jersey state Assemblyman Upendru Chivukula; attorneys Ashwin Madia and Ravi Sangisetty; and physician Manan Trivedi.

    “From civil and religious rights, to minority small business issues and health disparities, to immigration reform to helping individuals from underrepresented communities get elected, Congressman Honda has been there on the frontlines fighting for our communities,” wrote the five, stating that Honda had mentored each of them in their congressional bids.

    The 36-year-old Khanna, who teaches economics at Stanford University and law at Santa Clara University and serves as counsel at one of the Valley’s most venerable law firms, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, has stacked his campaign team with key staffers of Obama’s re-election campaign (see separate story). Khanna has a financial headstart with a $1.2 million campaign war-chest he amassed before announcing his bid against Honda; the Indian American candidate will formally launch his campaign Apr. 14 with an afternoon rally at DeAnza College in Cupertino.

    The former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Commerce Department, who has been dubbed a Democratic rising star, told India-West shortly before announcing his campaign that Honda was out of touch with his Silicon Valley constituency (I-W, Apr. 5).

    But Honda dismissed such characterization, noting to this newspaper that he has represented the Silicon Valley for the past 13 years.

    “The notion that I do not understand the vocabulary of Silicon Valley is nonsense. I’m not an inventor, or a patent lawyer, but I was a science teacher and I do understand what’s going on,” he stated.

    The 71-year-old Japanese American recently “crowd sourced” his campaign Web site, asking the public for their input in delivering his message.

    The Walnut Grove, Calif., native, who has been characterized as a traditional, union-backed Democrat, gave a shout-out to labor’s role in the Valley’s recovery.

    “Labor is the reason we have a strong middle-class here. They build the buildings the innovators work in, the machines that make the silicon chips,” said Honda, enthusiastically championing educators, firefighters and other union-dominant professions. 

    In his 2011-2012 campaign, Honda received approximately $157,000 from labor-related PACs of the total $900,844 he received for that run, according to Federal Election Commission reports. 

    About one-fifth of Khanna’s contributors in 2011 also contributed to Honda’s campaign in 2012, according to FEC filings by both candidates. Significantly, venture capitalist Vinod Gupta – who threw a fundraiser for Khanna in 2011 – contributed $2,500 to Honda’s race in 2012, according to FEC reports.

    Gautam Dutta, executive director of the Asian American Action Fund, told India-West, “Mike has been there from the start. He has seen the Silicon Valley grow, he knows all the movers and shakers and is pretty diverse.”

    “He cares about immigration, education being affordable, and shattering glass ceilings at the workplace,” stated Dutta. The AAAF announced its endorsement of Honda Apr. 9.

    “Today, as Congress debates immigration reform, Congressman Honda leads his colleagues on the issue of reuniting families – one of the greatest concerns for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” Dutta said in the endorsement letter.

    One of the real game changers of the race may be a lawsuit Dutta has initiated against the Top-Two Primary law, which he believes to be unconstitutional by forcing people to lie about party preferences during primary races. The case was heard Feb. 13 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena, Calif. If the court decides in Dutta’s favor, the California State Legislature will have to amend the law, explained Dutta. If the law is not amended in time for the November 2014 general election, the state will be forced to go back to the old system, where the top vote-getter in either party competes in the general election. 

    Evelyn Li, a Republican who ran against Honda in 2012 but was roundly trounced, has not indicated whether she will run again in 2014. Harmeet Dhillon, vice chair of the California Republican Party, told India-West, “We will run someone for sure,” but did not hint at prospective candidates.

    “There is not much daylight between Honda and Khanna — two flavors of the same big government medicine,” said Dhillon, adding, “Don’t get me wrong — I think it is great that Ro is taking on Mike Honda. Incumbency is corrupting and sclerotic and competition is good for politics. The more choices the voters have, the better.”

    “Republicans have been winning conservative battles in Silicon Valley recently including pension reform in San Jose and we intend to give voters a true business-friendly choice,” she added.

    Fremont, Calif., Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan told India-West, “This is great, and may get the community organized, there has to continue to be a focus on local politics.”

    “This shouldn’t be our only race. We need to create a robust pipeline of people at the local level,” she added.

    At press time, Natarajan had not announced an endorsement for either candidate. San Jose city councilman Ash Kalra told India-West he was supporting Honda.

Low & Lower, Dumb & Dumber

Ben Carson CPAC

As I cheered Ben Carson‘s implosion, I highlight the difference between merely dabbling in politics & being a credible political leader.

I work & live outside the political industry & sphere so I spectate the idiocy of political media which must never pass as alleged rhetoric much less political dialog. Talking points, soundbytes & other oversimplified regurgitated media cruft is far far below what our government professionals should ever do as their day job. Carson’s taking the low road continues the downward level of public discourse & political dialog, terms too flattering for the lost art.

I’ve been tempted for months to write about how politics is not just abused by others as justification for their personal flaws, a favorite topic of mine in posts past, but how now they don’t even need to hide their outright racism. Why should this Jesus-wanna-be hide his hate of LGBT people? He felt it publicly ok to spew hate speech (which is messed up as it’s no longer a crime thanks to the same perversion of the First Amendment that they did for the Second Amendment), but as societies liberalize over time, the extreme polarization will grow. Where will it end? Comment.

Thanks for listening to my day’s rant. Write for our blogathon or for this blog if you’ve got an opinion.

Question of the Week: Hillary

Can Hillary Clinton become the first woman to be elected President?

– Gautam Dutta

New poll shows Rep. Honda with commanding lead

The National Journal has Rep. Mike Honda with a commanding lead of 57 percent versus potential challengers Republican Evelyn Li (13%) and possible primary opponent Ro Khanna with 5%. The poll was conducted by the respected firm of Lake Research Partners.

The poll release is another in a series of aggressive steps Honda has taken to cut off a possible challenge from Khanna, a former official in President Obama’s Commerce Department with big-time fundraising connections among Silicon Valley Democrats. It’s not surprising that Khanna is little-known in the poll; he has never held elected office. But he has the funds and the connection to get well-known in a hurry, which is why Honda has responded with such aggression to Khanna’s early moves.

Honda’s camp announced a reelection endorsement by President Obama back in January, just a couple months after the 2012 campaign ended. Honda has also rolled out messages of support from other top Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Commmitee chairman Steve Israel. Honda has already announced his 2014 campaign team, too, in response to early moves by Khanna.

Recently, members of the Indian American community have come out full force for the Congressman. San Leandro Talk references the India Abroad article:

Much of Khanna’s support so far has come from the Indian-American community, but it came with the presumption he would run for an open seat in CD 15. Challenging Mike Honda is another matter altogether. As Varun Nikore, past president of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, told India Abroad: ” [Honda] has done an enormous service to the Indian-American community and continues to do so. He’s mentored countless numbers of Indian-American politicians across the county including Ro. Not because he had to, but because Mike Honda so deeply believes in this cause of empowerment for not only Indian Americans, but for all Asian Pacific Americans… We cannot let the ambitions of one trump loyalty here. If we start going after our friends, who will stand with us in future battles to come? Our successes as a community didn’t just come because an Indian American was at the table fighting for our rights and causes. We were helped by leaders in the larger Asian Pacific American community who helped build broad coalitions and represented our community in our issues, like Patsy Mink, Daniel Inouye, Norman Mineta and Mike Honda. We would be nowhere without them.” Echoing the sentiments, newly elected Indian American congressman Ami Bera told the publication that “in recent years, Mike Honda has done more than any member of Congress to help support and grow Asian-American representation in the House of Representatives. Congressman Honda was instrumental in helping me and other Indian-American candidates build out our races, and gain credibility. He has always been there for us, raising funds, providing advice, and being a mentor.” Bera has apparently been trying to dissuade Khanna from challenging Honda, with little success.

The race has even gotten ink in the NY Times.