I had the great opportunity and fortune to meet a truly historic Asian American recently – former Ambassador to China, Secretary of Commerce and Governor of Washington state Gary Locke. I had attended a fundraiser in Silicon Valley for Congressman Mike Honda, who is running for re-election (for California’s 17th Congressional District). Locke was the guest of honor in support of Honda, along with former Secretary of Defense William Perry.
As I had blogged earlier, Congressman Honda was facing a Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, whom I interviewed last year. Earlier this summer, both Honda and Khanna were the two top vote-getters in the open primary and will face each other in this November’s election (“Honda led with 49 percent, followed by Khanna at 27 percent. Both Republican candidates, Vanila Singh and Joel Vanlandingham, failed to make the general: Singh was at 17 percent and Vanlandingham was at 7 percent.”)
Locke discussed his long history and support for Congressman Honda, how they worked together when he was Secretary of Commerce as well as Ambassador to China – along with his family history, originally from China, and how the United States is made of a country of immigrants.
I had a brief chance to chat with Locke and asked if he ever had any interest in running for office again, in particular for president (something I’d like to see in my lifetime – an Asian American running for president, and ideally winning!). Locke said he was finished running for office, and is currently in the private sector consulting American companies doing business in China and Chinese companies doing business in the United States.
As for as the Khanna vs. Honda race, the most interesting development is that the two have agreed to have a 75 minute televised debate on October 6th, at 6PM on NBC affiliate KNTV.