By Elpidio R. Estioko | FilAm Star Correspondent
MILPITAS – Ro Khanna, in his second attempt for U.S. Congress District 17 to unseat well-entrenched incumbent Mike Honda, won in the recent June 7 presidential primary election by 39,306 votes (38.87 percent) over Mike Honda’s 38,529 votes (38.10 percent).
When they first met four years ago, Honda had the upper hand by 51 percent of the votes over Khanna’s 49 percent. During the campaign, Honda vowed to champion the DREAM Act and to continue looking after the welfare of Asian Americans in Congress. The incumbent congressman for re-election told FilAm Star then that pushing education will be among his top priorities.
Honda introduced the All Students Count Act of 2014 to “improve the quality of the data that schools, school districts, and states collect and use to determine student performance. This improved data will enable schools to better address the specific needs of various minority groups”.
He added, “As a life-long educator, I have been committed to making college affordable for all Americans, and have worked hard to boost student aid to support the efforts of young adults to achieve their potential.”
Honda also said he is concerned about the need for out-of-(immigration) status Filipinos in the U.S. to be granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). “I know TPS is a critically important issue for the Filipino-American community in the light of the devastation wrought by the historic, infamous if you will, Typhoon Haiyan, and this includes the 60,000 Filipino-Americans in my district of CA-17,” he said. “That is why I will continue to urge the Obama Administration to grant TPS to the Philippines, after having co-sponsored the Filipino Temporary Protected Status Act of 2013.
Honda may have prevailed over Khanna in their first encounter because of this focus in his campaign.
But Khanna changed his strategy this year and actively sought endorsements from a number of veterans groups. “They have endorsed me because they believe that I will be responsive and will really fight for the benefits they deserve,” Khanna explained.
With the win, his campaign staff claimed Khanna achieved something remarkable. He became the only challenger in all of California – and one of two Democrats in the entire country — to win a Congressional primary over an incumbent!
Khanna recently told FilAm Star, “This was a major upset that showed the power of the grassroots. I was honored to have won the Asian American voters decisively. My message of supporting immigration, not taking any special interest money and improving our schools and education, resonated”.
Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, an ardent supporter of Khanna told FilAm Star he congratulated Khanna for his victory. “Congratulations to Ro on his winning the primary. This is great news for D17 which will have a very high hope of having Ro as its next Representative come November election. Ro is most deserving, a much needed change and a favor for this district”.
The young lawyer and college professor from Fremont thanked his supporters, who made the difference—from volunteering to contribute to sharing Ro’s vision with friends and family – for making it possible and urged them to carry on the momentum to the November general election.
“We did it – because of your support, we are heading to the general election! Your hard work and dedication inspires Ritu and me every single day of this campaign. I cannot thank you enough. We’re moving on to the General Election with strength and the wind at our back… the result of tonight’s vote is clear: Voters said they want leadership that offers a new way, not the same old way,” Khanna said.
He further explained how he run a very positive campaign that catapulted him to win over Honda. “Since the beginning of our campaign, I’ve knocked on more than 3,000 doors and talked to thousands of people about the issues that matter most to them. People in every part of our district – Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Milpitas, San Jose, Fremont, Newark, and Cupertino – are tired of a Washington that is broken and leaders that aren’t doing anything about it. They’re tired of a status quo politics that isn’t helping them answer the biggest questions facing their families: Will I find a good-paying job that can support us? Will I be able to afford healthcare? Will my child’s school prepare them for a job in the 21st century economy?”