By Staff Writers Gloria Chang & Vicki Xu
MSJ Political Science Club invited House of Representatives Candidate Ro Khanna to speak in C-120 during advisory period on September 29. While introducing his platform, Khanna discussed student involvement in politics and answered questions about his campaign plans.
Khanna received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Chicago and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in intellectual property law from Yale Law School. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Khanna as a deputy assistant secretary in the US Department of Commerce. He now teaches economics at Stanford University and law at Santa Clara University School of Law. After an unsuccessful run in 2014 against Mike Honda to represent California’s 17th congressional district in the US House of Representatives, he is running again this year.
Before Khanna gave his speech, students shared their experiences in politics onstage. Sophomore Tarun Devesetti used his involvement in the Khanna campaign to urge attendees to be politically active, while MSJ Political Science Club Treasurer Senior Angus Fung and Public Relations Manager Senior Sai Dwibhashyam described their interests in political science and told jokes to entertain the crowd. Regional Field Director Samuel Sigmon then briefly introduced Khanna’s platform, inviting attendees to ask questions that he would relay to Khanna.
Moments later, students applauded as Khanna walked onto the stage in C-120. He opened his speech by interacting with students, surveying the crowd for a general count of each grade level and even jokingly asking Mike Honda supporters to raise their hands. Platform details came next; while speaking about college affordability, he said, “How many people here are concerned about school debt? You all should have your hands up! … I’m 40 years old and I worked for President Obama, I teach at Stanford, and I’m still paying off student loans.” He also discussed University of California schools’ acceptance rates, especially with regards to prioritizing Californian students. He closed his speech with an encouraging reminder for students to make their impact during this election cycle.
The following question-and-answer session covered a broad range of topics, from the economy to educational issues. Khanna also briefly touched upon a lawsuit that his opponent, current Democratic Congressman Mike Honda, filed against him, calling it a “political stunt” meant to distract from Honda’s own federal ethics investigation. As for his concept of an ideal politician, he said, “Someone who can really get something done, and that’s going to be my approach when I get to Congress. Working with Republicans and Independents to do that.” Attendees received Khanna’s answers warmly, punctuating his statements with applause.
Satisfied with the event and turnout, Dwibhashyam said, “We had to put a lot of effort into the planning to make sure that the most number of people can hear him speak … It felt really great to see people genuinely curious about Ro Khanna as a person, instead of just another person on the ballot.”
Photos by Staff Writers Gloria Chang & Vicki Xu