Ro Khanna and the Democrat Lady

Or How I Came to Support Underdog Ro Khanna

Last year, on April 6, 2013, the first meeting of the Berryessa – North San Jose Democrat Club was held. It is a fledgling club whose purpose is to increase the presence of Democrats in the area. Since I am for that, I joined.

At one of our meetings, the subject of which candidates our new organization was likely to support came up. Kansen Chu, Bob Wieckowski and Mike Honda were names that came up for various offices. I asked if anyone else was running. And, really, there wasn’t. I mean, there were some competitors, but no one for whom I was interested in voting.

But one of the people at the meeting named some Indian guy who was going to be running against Mike Honda. It got my attention because I have long been interested in challengers to his office. I would never consider a GOP candidate, but a viable Democrat is of interest. Nothing against Honda, I just do not think we should have a coronation every two years. It was the intention of our forefathers that it be an election, with debate on the issues.

I said, “This guy is figuring that the Indian community will vote for him and that’s all he needs to win?” The person next to me nodded and said something like, “Basically, yeah.”

So, I figured Mr. Indian Dude was dead in the water.

A couple of months passed and my phone rang. Some young lady with an Indian-sounding name was inviting me to meet some guy who was running for Congress. I guessed it was the person discussed at the meeting.

Now, I have been known to be a bit fiesty. And, age has not changed that in any way. I decided to go and meet this young challenger. I was expecting an arrogant person with a chip on his shoulder trying to get my vote lest I be painted a racist.

Oh, boy, did I eat crow!

What I discovered was a highly intelligent, thoughtful and very accompished young man who actually cares about people and getting things done. His name is Ro Khanna.

I grilled this poor guy on every subject that I care about: abortion, labor unions, wages, education, taxes, you name it, I brought it up. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Honest, I really TRIED.

To my delight Ro Khanna never ONCE said anyone should vote for him because he was an Indian American. It never came up. Not once.

Well, not by him. Another Indian American at the meeting mentioned that Ro Khanna would be the first from that ethnic group in Congress (or maybe from this district — I do forget that particular detail). But that is appropriate.

While it is inappropriate for a candidate to ask for my support because he is a member of any particular group, there is nothing wrong with a supporter, and member of the same group, to have pride in the fact that someone from their group may achieve something wonderful. That’s just human nature.

But, it was Ro Khanna’s accomplishments that got my attention, as well. He has worked in the commerce department. He teaches economics at Stanford and law at Santa Clara University. He has written a book about the new economy and labor union leaders support his ideas.

Ro Khanna Onward

There are two major differences between Ro Khanna and Mike Honda. First, Ro is better trained to deal with technology issues that effect this district. That is kinda HUGE. We have Apple, Intel and several other high tech companies in this congressional district. Yes, congress people represent citizens, not business. I get that. But they still have to understand how the businesses work and what their needs are in order to keep jobs from going overseas. Honda doesn’t get that. At least not that I can see.

The second difference is rather superficial, but also important as a tie-breaker. When Honda speaks, I want to go to sleep. He is not capable of giving an inspiring speech. Ro Khanna, on the other hand, IS. When he speaks, I feel inspired to do better as a person. To work harder to make my country and my community better. Now, if Ro were incorrect in his positions on important issues, this would not be worth considering.

I mean, who cares what a great speech you can give if you think everyone should make $1 an hour and be happy about it? But, in this case, where the views of the candidates are so similar, it IS and SHOULD BE part of what is considered. It is the tie-breaker. (As my 84-year-old mother said after watching the one debate. “They are the same except that Ro gives a better presentation.”)

These men are asking you to send them to the Congress of the United States of America. You know, where there is debate on the open floor of congress. Where a person MUST be inspiring in order to make his case to get a bill passed.

I have confidence that Ro Khanna can do this. I have none that Honda can. Honda has managed to get one bill passed in 14 years that he wrote himself. That was to name a post office.

California’s 17th Congressional District has an opportunity to change its leadership to something better. In the past, I have voted for whoever the Democrats ran because the alternative was some GOP crazy dude.

My party has not given me an adaquate reason to vote for the incumbant. The list of reasons they have for not supporting Ro border on the ludicris. Here is a brief list of things I have heard:

1) Ro Khanna should not run because it takes away from money we can send to candidates in other states.

Until today I have given more money to other candidates than to Ro. I only gave money today because Honda’s tactics really ticked me off. Here’s a thought, if there had been MORE debates, a LOT less money would have had to have been spent PERIOD. So, if Honda had merely agreed to several debates over several months, people could have made their decision based on those performances and not some self-serving mailer.

2) Ro Khanna hasn’t started at the bottom and worked his way up in local elections.

SO? While most of the time I would agree that previous elected political experience is necessary, there are ALWAYS exceptions to those rules. Khanna’s time in Washington as Deputy Commerce Secretary certainly is just as important as being on a local school board and attending club meetings.

3) Ro Khanna is going against Mike Honda and Honda is such a nice guy.

So? Ro is a nice guy, too. Congressional candidacy is not supposed ot be a popularity contest. It is supposed to be about the issues of the day.

4) Ro Khanna runs all the time against old people. He moves around to challenge the old people.

Ten years ago, Ro ran against Tom Lantos and lost. He hasn’t run since. He is NOT a perennial candidate. He ran ONCE before. He no longer lives in San Mateo, he lives in Fremont. No reason to run there. AND, um…show a Bay Area congressional person who is under 60. If Ro Khanna is going to live in the Bay Area, who can he run against that hasn’t been in office for over a decade? So, he can’t run because it might look like he is picking on old people? No one should ever run in the Bay Area if that is true.


OK, Now I’m Mad — Vote for Ro Khanna

Mike Honda just cost me $25 I did not intend to spend. I was DONE with my campaign contributions for this cycle. Done, tapped out, not gonna send no money to nobody, no way, no how, not a chance.

Yesterday, I got two robo-calls. One from the actor Mark Ruffalo asking me to donate to keep the US Senate blue, just log into my email and open the one he just sent. Got a similar call from another actor this morning. Ignored them. I mean, I have to EAT don’t I?

Then I logged into my email account and saw the one from a Ro Khanna supporter asking me for $25. Now, I am your basically broke Democrat. And I have a system for donating. I do not respond to email. And, I set a monthly budget for donations. Said budget depends on my income for that month. My income varies greatly because I am a freelance graphics designer. I have a very tight budget.

My system is this. I have $X in my mind as afforable for that month. I give everyone that calls $5 until that budget is exhausted. First come, first served. My budget includes charities, my alma matter and political donations. NOBODY gets $25. Ignored the email. Yeah, I know Ro needs it, but I don’t have it. No more blood in this here turnip.

About and hour ago, I went to get the mail from the garage, where our box resides. And there, in big, bold print, on a mailer, was an OUTRIGHT LIE about Ro Khanna from a labor union supporting Mike Honda. BLATANT, and in the lowest form of GOP negative campaigning I have ever seen from Democrats.

But wait, Honda and labor unions are “good guys”, right? I mean, they ARE Democrats and they NEVER sink to inuendo and guilt-by-association campaigning. Enron my foot (or other appropriate body part). Right? WRONG, grasshopper, WRONG.

I support labor unions. Honest, I do. But this mailer suggests that because some dude did business with Enron and because said dude supports Ro Khanna, that Ro is out to, um, screw the little guy. You know what? I KNOW RO. And, when I first became interested in his candidacy, I grilled him on these types of issues. He SUPPORTS UNIONS. And, to insinuate that he would not is an outright LIE. PERIOD!

Ro Khanna for Congress

Ro Khanna Gets $25

So, I went directly to my email. Found the undeleted request for funds and gave Ro Khanna $25. I am only sorry I can’t take more from my Christmas fund. But my mom will understand when her gift is not as nice as I wanted it to be. She was going to vote for Mike, but after seeing all of Honda’s tactics, she’s voting for Ro, too.

Mercury News Editorial on election tactics of incumbent.

Up until now, I have given more money to candidates in other states than I have locally. I feel that strongly about keeping the Democrats running things in Washington. But, this donation did tip the scales to Ro. I have given him more than any other candidate. That would not be true if it were not for the mailer I received today.

If you wish to donate to Ro Khanna’s campaign so he can fight these last minute lies, go here

Mike Honda Gets a Do-Over

Ro Khanna Wins February Endorsement Vote

Ro Khanna teaching. Ro is running against Mike Honda.

Last February, the Berryessa-North San José Democrats club endorsed Ro Khanna, over incumbant Mike Honda, for California’s 17th Congressional District by the two-thirds vote required by the by-laws to endorse a candidate.

On Thursday, August 21, 2014 Mike Honda will get a do-over, as the endorsement will be re-visited. This time, of course, the incumbant is prepared. Well, sort of…

How Endorsements Can Happen

See, folks, the way these club endorsements work is simple, and, almost all of the Santa Clara County Democratic clubs operate in the same way. That is, anyone whose dues are paid up can vote to endorse a candidate. You can be a member of the club and live in, oh, Texas, and if you are so inclined as to physically attend a meeting to vote for a candidate, you can.

You do not have to actually attend a meeting or listen to candidates debate. In most cases, you can waltz into the meeting place, get your ballot, mark it, drop it in the ballot box, and leave. All without having heard any candidate give a statement or participating in any discussion about the merits of any individual seeking the endorsement.

Sounds cool, correct? And, on paper it really is. But here’s what else it does: ANY, and I mean ANY, employee of ANY office holder can become a member of ANY and ALL clubs and vote to endorse whoever they want. In theory, the individual can vote for whoever they wish. Most of the ballots are secret. But the reality is they vote for whom they are told.

So, if you work for Incumbant A and Incumbant B thinks he/she might not win an endorsement vote from a particular club, Incumbant B is likely to ask Incumbant A to get his/her employees to join a particular Democrat club to vote for Incumbant B. This is how incumbants remain in office.

The Berryessa-North San José Democrats is a new club. We wanted to be able to endorse in this election cycle. To do so meant that we had to meet certain deadlines. Our by-laws state that, in order to vote on endorsements, an individual must have paid his/her dues within the previous 25 days.

Because scheduling was so tight, and our club was so new, we suspended the 25 day rule and made it 7. This was done because the candidates forums for three elections, including California Congressional 17, were already scheduled and there was less than 25 days until the event.

This was a sensible, one-time only, rule change.

At the January meeting, as I was reading the by-laws (they were distributed that evening for the first time, I believe), I realized that all Mike Honda had to do was get other Democratic office holders to get their employees to the endorsement meeting. They didn’t even have to listen to any candidates speak, ie Ro Khanna. They just had to show up for a couple of minutes, register their attendance, fill out their ballot, drop it in the box and leave.

I thought to myself, “This sytem is rigged to favor an incumbant.” Not one to just sit down and play dead, I said to a friend and fellow Ro supporter, “Call Ro’s office and tell them to get their people to this meeting.” At the time, I had not yet begun volunteering for Ro’s campaign, so I did not have any contact numbers.

My friend did as I suggested. Ro’s staff did their job. They did it so well that Ro Khanna won the endorsement of the club. And, they did it without calling office holders and asking for help. They got real, honest-to-goodness run-of-the-mill American citizens to come and participate in the process. How about that for initiative?

There was a candidates forum. Both Mike Honda and Ro Khanna were invited. Mike Honda couldn’t be bothered to attend. Ro Khanna came, fielded questions and won the endorsement. RO KHANNA DID HIS JOB. And, he did it well.

Mike Honda a Sore Loser?

Losing this endorsement upset Mike Honda so much some of his staff members showed up at the June meeting of the Berryessa-North San Jose Democrats and demanded a re-vote of the endorsement.

Yes, they were within their rights as members of the club to call for a vote no one had placed on the agenda. No one but Honda’s supporters within the club knew it was coming. Yes, they got the two-third vote necessary to revote an endorsement, barely. To me, it was the epitome of pettiness.

I will attend the endorsement meeting and vote for Ro. But it is likely that Mike Honda will receive it. Ro probably cannot compete with all the employees and campaign staffs of all the other Democrat incumbents.

My biggest concern, though, is the election in November.

Do we really want a congressman whose staff, under his leadership, needs two chances to get something done?

Visit Ro Khanna’s website!

Ro Khanna for Congress!!!!!!!

Picture of Ro Khanna

Some people might wonder why an old lady progressive like me would be supporting the likes of Ro Khanna. After all, he is young, vibrant, and probably never sang a verse of “Kumbaya” in his life.

Well, here’s my list, not necessarily in order of importance, as to why I believe it is time for Ro Khanna to lead my congressional district:

Ro Khanna teaches economics at Stanford.

That gives him a strong, up-to-date understanding of the present. He understands what we need to keep our economy strong. Honest. I’ve met him. We talked.

Ro Khanna teaches law at Santa Clara University.

I don’t know about you, but I really DO think that someone in any legislature should have some experience in law. If you are going to write laws, you should understand the legal process. I am NOT saying that all Congresspeople should be lawyers, but I am saying knowledge of the law is a plus.

Ro Khanna Wants to Reform Congressional Pensions.

I do not think that those that make their money as taxpayer employees should get a better pension plan than the taxpayer does. If you want good pensions for politicians, you need to elect people who will insure that those in the private sector ALSO have decent pensions.

I got news for you dudes and dudettes in Congress and the Senate, if you can’t write and pass laws that make private enterprise pay for decent pensions for their retirees, i.e. taxpayers, why should the retiree/taxpayer pay for you to have a pension at all? You do not deserve any more than you are able to legislate for ALL Americans. And, until EVERY American has a good pension, in addition to his/her social security, from their employer you do not deserve one, either.

We Need More Young Leaders in the Democratic Party, Like Ro Khanna

Hey, all you baby boomers out there, remember how HARD we fought to get the “older generation” to listen to us? How hard we fought to vote at 18, hold office, and have our voice heard? Well, it is time we all put our money where our mouth is and supported a young person for Congress. It really is their turn. Fair is fair.

We rejoiced when young men of thirty went to the Senate and House in the ’70’s. Guys named Biden, Kerry and Harkin, as I recall. They are all still there, serving in some way. That’s great! But we also need to make some room for some younger people.

The only young faces we have in Congress all wear red. The Cantors, the Ryans, etc., etc., etc. Young people need someone they can identify with, and the Democrats have no-one I can think of at the moment. If we do not give them some representation in Congress, we will lose them to another party. Period. It will happen. It might not be to the GOP, but we will lose them.

My Current Congressman Refuses to Debate

The Democratic Club that I belong to held a forum for all the Democratic candidates. The sitting congressman was not in attendance. I was told he was in town, not in Washington. He sent a video, but he didn’t show to debate the other candidates. Frankly, I do not care what his excuse is, you show for debates and forums or you do not get my vote.

We Live in Silicon Valley.

This is the last reason I will give for now. And, it is the biggest reason I have for supporting Ro Khanna for Congress. Our sitting Congressperson has a background in education. He was a teacher and a high school principal. COOL! That’s a great thing and necessary to have some people in Congress with that kind of a background.

But, um, forgive me, but, we LIVE IN SILICON VALLEY. You know, where there is a lot of COMMERCE. And, the guy that has the background to best represent this district is the guy who served in the Commerce Department and teaches economics. That would be Ro Khanna.

That does not mean I want to throw my existing Congressperson under the bus or be disrespectful of his service. It means I recognize that in Silicon Valley we will be better served by someone who has experience in commerce then education.

Oh, by-the-way, did I mention that Mr. Khanna TEACHES at Stanford and Santa Clara University? So, it isn’t like we have to give up someone with education experience to get someone with commerce experience. We can, in this case, actually have both. Really. Honest. We can have it all.

But, judge for yourself. Follow him on Twitter at @RoKhannaUSA, see his Facebook page at and visit his web site at