ENG: 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 17th congressional district, encompassing western San Jose and Silicon Valley. He has been serving in Congress since 2001.
A Japanese American, Honda was born in Walnut Grove, California in 1941 and spent his early childhood in a Japanese American internment camp in Colorado. Between the ages of one and five, Honda recalls living in Camp Amache,an internment camp located in Southeastern Colorado. It was during these formative years spent within the camp that young Michael Honda learned that being of Asian descent carried with it a negative connotation in the United States.
Grasping the injustice wrought on minorities who were legal, law-abiding citizens of this country instilled in him a lifelong goal to overcome these injustices, to fight for those less fortunate than others, and to persevere in providing opportunities for all Americans regardless of race or religious preferences.
So, in 1953 his family returned to California, 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 became fluent in Spanish. He returned to San Josė State, where in 1968 he received a Bachelor 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.
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 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 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. 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.
During the 2008 electoral campaign, Honda made a Spanish-language appearance in a political advertisement on television which endorsed the re-election of Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, who would go to trial after the November 2008 elections for a 24-count federal Grand Jury indictment for corruption.
On 3 October 2008, Honda voted in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act.
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.
January 24, 2013