Could Rob Bonta be California’s 1st FilAm Attorney General?

Assembly Member Bonta became the first FilAm state legislator in California’s 170-year history. Photos:

Upon  confirmation by the Legislature, Rob Bonta, 48, will be the first Filipino American to occupy this position. His predecessor, Xavier Becerra was confirmed last week as secretary of Health and Human Services for the Biden administration.

In 2012, when Bonta was elected to the California Assembly, he became the first FilAm state legislator in California’s 170-year history. He serves in the 18th District of the California State Assembly representing Alameda, Oakland and San Leandro. He was in the 2020 general election ballot uncontested. 

Prior to serving in the Assembly, Bonta was Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda, where he strongly supported public safety, fostered economic development, and exercised fiscal responsibility. Throughout his career in public service, Assembly member Bonta distinguished himself as a strong advocate for California’s public schools and job creation. Early on as Assemblyman, he authored AB 123, a first of its kind bill, which requires the state curriculum to include the contributions of Filipino Americans to the farm labor movement in California. He also introduced the Fair Accreditation for Community Colleges Act, AB 1942, which will restore transparency, accountability, fairness and due process to the state community college accreditation system.

With wife Mialisa, a native New Yorker, and their children
Bonta’s parents were activists against injustice. He calls them ‘my heroes.’

Bonta has authored major bills affecting California’s health care and housing law, immigration and the penal code, among others.

The Philippine-born Bonta came to California with his parents when he was only two months old. His parents were missionaries in the Philippines. They were also activists against the regime of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“My parents – they are my heroes,” Bonta says in his website.

“They were activists who marched for civil rights in Selma and advocated for democracy in the Philippines. When I was a few months old, they joined Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta to organize exploited farmworkers in the Central Valley for better pay and working conditions. 

“They instilled in my siblings and me a commitment to making the world a better place. They taught me to call out – and root out – injustice whenever I saw it. That’s why I decided to become a lawyer for the people, because I understood that a crime against any one of us is a crime against all of us.”  — Esther Chavez

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