State Assembly District 28 – Evan Low
We previously endorsed Mr. Low when he ran for assembly member in District 24, then again when he did so for District 28 and we continue to be impressed by this neophyte politician. Low burst into politics as a City Councilman from Cupertino where he brought youth and a strong sense of purpose to his assignments. After only 3 years of experience in politics, he was selected by his fellow city council members to serve as the Vice-Mayor and then Mayor of Campbell. Low didn’t win his race for the 24th, and instead has continued his service as Mayor of Campbell for seven years while concurrently serving as an instructor at De Anza College, where years earlier he earned a degree – before later graduating from the John F. Kennedy School of government at Harvard. Despite now joining the ranks of “incumbent” Low still actively supports the community – he recently made an unplanned and unscripted appearance at Santa Clara University School of Law’s Diversity Gala where he presented award recipients with commendations from the state legislature. We don’t agree with everything Low has suggested – like his bill to allow AT&T to phase out land lines in favor of cell service only (we think that’s likely to harm the poor who rely on such service and dangerous in light the reality that 911 systems work better when activated from landlines) but we like most of what we see. We appreciate that even in a Democrat dominated legislature Low is willing to reach across the aisle in an effort (albeit a failed one) to address the problem of how to measure driving under the influence of marijuana. We also like that Low has been at the forefront of efforts to push back on Republican –led efforts to allow educational institutions to discriminate against LGBT students; Low’s response? He authored a bill prohibiting institutions that do so from receiving State funding. We join the many other groups that are impressed not only with Low’s history, but also with the drive and dedication he has shown in the tasks he’s undertaken.
House of Representatives District 17 – Ro Khanna
What you say? Unseat Bay Area fixture Mike Honda? Well, once again we say: yes. Ultimately, it’s not that Honda is doing a horrible job, it’s just that Khanna seems to bring more promise and energy. Perhaps like us that sounds to you like age discrimination – there may be something too that. Honda is 74, but it does seem like he is a bit less “in-step” with his Silicon Valley constituency when compared to former Obama Administration member, former patent attorney, Stanford and Santa Clara grad, and all-around techno-dude Ro Khanna. There have been quiet concerns for a few years that despite his strong liberal track record on big civil rights issues, Honda has lost a step on his substance. For a detailed discussion on their respective positions see this article complete with video of Honda phoning it in during a town hall.[XXneed linkxxx]. Since we last endorsed Khanna, President Obama has taken the unprecedented step of withdrawing his endorsement of Mike Honda – that is a big deal.
Among the issues that we don’t love about Honda is his fondness for travel perks and PAC monies. He is right when he quickly points out that the Supreme Court permits such political expenditures by cloaking them in the protections of speech – but from a good governance standpoint, we think he is on the wrong side of that issue. We could also quibble with the fact that in his long career he’s only had one insignificant bill (that he authored) signed into law – but at least in the current climate that doesn’t seem like a criticism unique to him. But we are more bothered that he just doesn’t seem as “plugged-in” to current issues as Khanna.
Khanna, who has captured the hearts and dollars of Silicon Valley technorati, has advocated for immigration reform, has come out strongly against PAC monies in politics (including pledging not to take any such funds himself both during the campaign and if he joins congress). He also opposes pay increases for congress – we think that’s a bit gimmicky. However, his desire to remove congressional pensions is a bit more serious – we agree with Khanna that serving in congress shouldn’t be a career and therefore doesn’t justify a lifelong pension.
Opponents correctly point out that with a Republican majority that seems dead-set against any compromise with the Democratic minority there is little difference between Khanna and Honda. That may be true, but we prefer to think optimistically. If there is an opportunity to implement immigration reform, further patent reform, or other issues that are important to Silicon Valley we’d like to hear Khanna’s voice in the mix. Honda’s work over the last decade or so and his positions on many big-picture issues are commendable. But we think that in this case, change is good.
House of Representatives District 19 — Zoe Lofgren
Politomuse has been a long supporter of Zoe Lofgren. We feel she brings the perfect mix of technology savvy, a liberal view on social matters, careful practicality on fiscal and world matters and strong passion when it’s needed. For a good example of how passionate Congresswoman Lofgren is about important issues facing our society see this heated exchange between the Congresswoman and a professor of law who sought to attack the legitimacy of transgender Americans. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-essential-politics-zoe-lofgren-transgender-fight-professor-htmlstory.html . For some background on how Republicans in the House and Senate are making LGBT rights a major battleground see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karen-ocamb/religious-liberty-stealth_b_10085284.html. While we break with the Congresswoman on her endorsement of Mike Honda, we remain strongly in favor of her re-election to continue providing a strong voice in Congress for Silicon Valley.