SAN JOSE, CA - Rep. Mike Honda and his Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna dueled in their first and only debate on Oct.13. While neither walked off with an upper hand despite calling out each other on matters related to ethics and age, they nevertheless seemed to agree on a wide range of issues.
The 73-year-old Honda, seeking his eighth term, has the endorsement of almost every major Democratic politician while Khanna, 38, has the endorsement of almost every Bay Area newspaper. The race drew attention after Khanna used his record-breaking campaign war chest to hire key staffers from President Obama’s national campaigns.
Honda looked feisty throughout the debate and insisted the Nov. 4 election is “about what we need in the future” and who’s most qualified to lead on cutting-edge issues. Honda, Khanna said, “started his career with the greatest of intentions but has become part of the problem.”
Both candidates spoke about increasing the amount of federal Pell Grants available to college students, saying that interest rates on student loans should be lower. Khanna noted that he was still paying off his student loans. “If we can bail out Wall Street, we can certainly lower interest rates on student loans to two percent,” he stated.
Both candidates said they support raising the minimum wage. The incumbent and his opponent both expressed their abhorrence for the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance of private e-mails and social media accounts.
Covering the heart of Silicon Valley, the Asian-American majority district, includes the city of Fremont which has the largest concentration of South Asians in the US.