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More Obama Campaign Veterans Climb Aboard Ro Khanna Train

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Ro Khanna, the youthful Democratic challenger to California House incumbent Mike Honda for the state's 17th district, unveiled a new executive committee Tuesday. It features additional veterans of President Obama's California finance team, as well as representatives who are there obviously to reach out to members of the labor and youth communities -- communities that have historically been strongly supportive of Honda.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Partner David Berger is on Khanna's team, as is Kamil Hasan, a partner at the emerging markets private equity firm of Granite Hill Partners. Rusty Rueff, who was national co-chair of Tech4Obama, and a startup advisor and philanthropist, is also on board.

Other Democrats on board: Jim Green, who was the staff director for Technology for Obama and Northern California finance director for the re-election campaign; Amy Rao, CEO and founder of the tech company Integrated Archive Systems (and a mother of five!); Sergio Santos, a former community labor liaison for the NUMMI Re-Employment Center in Fremont; Kavita Tankha, another big fundraiser for Obama's 2012 campaign; and Ann Woo, "a dancer, playwright, producer and entrepreneur," and former electrical engineer.

Berger, Hasan, Rueff and Tankha were also members of Obama's 2012 cycle national finance committee. Green has also continued to be politically active by founding something in San Francisco called T4A.org, a non-profit that seeks to bring together lawmakers and people in the tech startup world to brainstorm policy ideas. It bills itself on its site as a "citizens' advisory board."

Also on the committee are Eva Roa, a recent graduate in economics of San Jose State University, and Lindsey Lamont, a Stanford senior and past president of the Stanford Young Democrats.

All this despite announced endorsements for Honda from most of California's Democratic establishment, including Obama himself, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, both of the state's senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, and California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Former Vermont Governor and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has also endorsed Honda.

Honda also has the ear of young Silicon Valley Democrats. The local Democratic youth coalition Silicon Valley Young Progressives held an event to honor Honda's service to the district late March.