BioU.S. Congressman Michael Honda represents the 17th Congressional District of California and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives for over twelve years. In Congress, Rep Honda is a member of the powerful 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 the original author of the Equity and Excellence Commission now housed in the US Department of Education.
Mike’s district includes Silicon Valley, the birthplace of technology innovation and now the country’s leading developer of green technology. Mike has dedicated his life to public service and is lauded for his work on education, civil rights, national service, immigration, transportation, the environment, and high-tech issues.
Serving as a California State Assemblymember, Santa Clara County Board Supervisor, San Jose Planning Commissioner, San Jose Unified School Board Member, Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador, and with over 30 years in education as a teacher, principal and school board member, Mike’s commitment to serving the people of California’s 17th district is unwavering and unparalleled.
Mike was born in California, but spent his early childhood with family in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. Mike’s father served in the Military Intelligence Service, while his mother, who is still living, served as a fulltime homemaker. His family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in San José's Blossom Valley.
In 1965, Mike answered President John F. Kennedy's call for volunteer service, enrolled in the Peace Corps for two years in El Salvador and returned fluent in Spanish and with a passion for teaching.
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 Commerce, Justice, and Science, and Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. As an Appropriator, Mike focuses on directing funding towards affordable healthcare, educational programs, worker training, port and border security, law enforcement and the safety of our neighborhoods, health care for our veterans and recovery from natural disasters.
Mike is currently the Chairman Emeritus of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) after spending seven years as Chairman. He continues his past work of 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, civil rights and voting rights. Additionally, as Co-Chair of the House LGBT Caucus, Mike authored immigration legislation to reunite all families, regardless of orientation.
In the 112th Congress, Mike was reappointed to House Democratic Senior Whip by then House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD). Senior Whips are a select group of Members and Democratic Caucus opinion leaders tasked with strategic planning on how issues impact targeted Members and developing strategies to ensure legislative success, one of which was to co-found and co-chair the Democratic Caucus New Media Working Group.
Mike is widowed and has two grown children. His wife, Jeanne, was a teacher at Baldwin Elementary School in San José before her passing in 2004. His son, Mark, is an aerospace engineer and Michelle, his daughter, is a public health educator in San Jose with three young boys.