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May 2, 2002

Rep. Mike Honda to Deliver Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Keynote Address at the Library of Congress

U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) will deliver the 2002 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month keynote address at the Library of Congress at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 24, in the Thomas Jefferson Building, Room LJ 119, 10 First Street, S.E. The lecture is free and open to the public. This year's national theme is "Unity in Freedom."

A native of California and a third-generation Japanese American, Rep. Honda and his family were sent to an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. His family returned to California in 1953, becoming strawberry sharecroppers in Blossom Valley in South San José. In 1965, he entered the Peace Corps and moved to El Salvador for two years, where he built schools and health clinics in rural communities. He returned from El Salvador with a passion for teaching and community outreach.

Rep. Honda earned bachelor's degrees in biological sciences and Spanish at San José State University where he subsequently earned a master's degree in education. For 20 years, he served as a science teacher and principal in the San José public school system.

In 1971, Rep. Honda was appointed to the San José City Planning Commission and was elected to the San José Unified School Board in 1981. In 1990, he became the first and only Asian Pacific American to serve on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. In 1996, he was elected to the California State Assembly where he served as chairman of the Public Safety Committee. He was reelected in 1998 with more than 75 percent of the vote.

In November 2000, Rep. Honda was elected to Congress to represent the 15th District of California, which contains one of the largest Asian Pacific American populations of any congressional district in the continental U.S. On his first official day in office, he was selected by his Democratic colleagues to serve as the Regional Whip for Northern California, Hawaii, American Samoa and Guam. He serves on the Budget, Transportation, and Science Committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As a Member of Congress from Silicon Valley and vice chairman of the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security, Rep. Honda plays a leading role in bringing Democrats and Republicans together to better understand technology issues. He was recently named "High Tech Legislator of the Year" by the American Electronics Association for his effective leadership in this area.

As vice chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Honda continues to be a strong voice for social justice, tolerance and civil rights in California and the nation.

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PR 02-064
05/02/02
ISSN 0731-3527

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