Since 2001, Mike Honda has represented the 15th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes Silicon Valley, the birthplace of technology innovation and the leading region for the development of the technologies of tomorrow. Mike has been a public servant for decades during which he has been lauded for his work on education, transportation, civil rights, national service, the environment, and high-tech issues.
Mike was born in California, but spent his early childhood with his family in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. After a decade living in Chicago, his family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in San José's Blossom Valley. In 1965, Mike interrupted his college studies to answer President John F. Kennedy's call for volunteer service. He served in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador, returning with a passion for teaching and fluent in Spanish.
Mike earned Bachelor's degrees in Biological Sciences and Spanish, and a Master's degree in Education from San José State University. In his career as an educator, Mike was a science teacher, served as a principal at two public schools, and conducted educational research at Stanford University.
In 1971, Mike was appointed by then-Mayor Norm Mineta to San Jose's Planning Commission. In 1981, Mike won his first election, gaining a seat on the San José Unified School Board. In 1990, Mike was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, where he led efforts to acquire and preserve open space in the county.
Mike served in the California State Assembly from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, Mike was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and serves on the Appropriations Committee, with postings on that body's Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Legislative Branch Subcommittees. As an appropriator, Mike focuses on directing funding to critical areas such as: access to affordable healthcare; worker training; port and border security; law enforcement and the safety of our neighborhoods; health care for our veterans; recovery from natural disasters, particularly Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.
Mike is serving his sixth year as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, coordinating with his colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucuses to champion the causes of under-represented communities by promoting social justice, racial tolerance, and civil rights.
In 2007, he was named House Democratic Senior Whip by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC). Senior Whips are a select group of Members and Democratic Caucus opinion leaders tasked with strategic planning about how issues impact targeted Members or groups, and will help develop strategies to ensure legislative success.
In 2005, Mike was elected as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee. In his role as DNC Vice-Chair, he has traveled to over 30 states and territories, and also internationally, to rejuvenate the Party's grassroots efforts and to incorporate new and emerging constituencies into the Party's agenda. In 2009, Mike was re-elected as Vice Chair of the DNC. Working with DNC Chair Tim Kaine, Mike will focus on what he does best: Fundraising new dollars for the DNC; helping new Americans register to vote, and encouraging new Americans to actively participate with the Democratic Party; outreaching to ethnic and specialty media; serving as a liaison to Congress; interfacing with the President’s Organizing for America initiatives; ensuring that Democrats’ voices and votes abroad are counted, and reaching out to the Spanish-speaking community given Mike’s Spanish fluency. In all this work, Mike’s goal is to ensure the DNC is successful in the Mid-Term Elections and is supporting the President's agenda and ultimate re-elect. Along the way, Mike’s priority is to make sure that the DNC, state and local Democratic parties/bodies are more reflective of America.
Mike is widowed and has two grown children. His wife, Jeanne, was a teacher at Baldwin Elementary School in San José before her untimely passing in 2004. His son, Mark, is an aerospace engineer and Michelle, his daughter, is a public health educator with three young boys.