FilAms make history in midterm elections: NaFFAA

Rep. Bobby Scott remains the highest-ranking FilAm elected official.  He keeps Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District which he has served since 1993. 

“Representation matters!”

So declared National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) national chair and outgoing president Brendan Flores as he congratulates Filipino Americans who won in state and local positions in the November elections.

He said he is seeing more Filipinos step  up to run for public office. “As our fellow Filipino Americans and those from other minority communities see someone who looks like them, speaks for them, and makes decisions on their behalf, they will also feel inspired to speak up, participate, and listen. We are excited to see progress for our community.”

Rep. Bobby Scott remained the highest-ranking Filipino American elected official after winning the U.S. House election in Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. He has served this district since 1993. 

Gabriel Quinto, the first LGBTQ council member in the history of El Cerrito, CA is reelected.

Historic state election victories  

In California, Rob Bonta was re-elected as the Attorney General for the U.S. state that is home to more than 500,000 Filipinos.

Steven Raga was elected the first Filipino American in the New York State Legislature. Maria Cervania became the first Filipina American member of the North Carolina Legislature after winning the House of Representatives to represent District 41. Joining them on the East Coast are re-elected Kris Valderrama, a Maryland House of Delegates member, and Marvin Lim, a state representative in District 98 in Georgia. Justin Jones also won as a state representative for District 52 in Tennessee, and Luz Bay won the New Hampshire House of Representatives for Strafford County District 21. 

Representing FilAm state winners on the West Coast are Genevieve Mina, who will assume office in the Alaska House of Representatives, representing District 19, and Erica Mosca, elected as a state assembly member for District 14 in Nevada. In Hawaii, Rosebella Martinez was elected as a member of the State House of Representatives for District 40 in Ewa, Hawaii. Joining history makers in Hawaii are Brandon Elefante and Henry Aquino, two newly elected to the Hawaii State Senate. 

Trailblazers in local elections

Newcomer Tyler Dos Santos is elected to the Honolulu City Council.

A record number of FilAms won local government posts during the recently held November elections. Assuming the office of Mayors are Jed Leano of Claremont City, Rod Daus-Magbual of Daly City, and Melissa Ramoso of the City of Artesia. The three mayors are elected council members but will assume their new roles as mayors in 2023.

FilAms are also well-represented in city council positions. Gabriel Quinto was reelected, the first LGBTQ council member in the history of the city of El Cerrito, CA. Other notable city council victories in California are Garry Garbadillo of Milpitas City, Ray Buenaventura of Daly City, Ollie Cantos and Letty Lopez-Viado of West Covina City, Tony Daysog of Alameda County, Joanne Del Rosario of the City of Colma, Diosdado Matulac of the City of Vallejo, Buenaflor Nicolas of City of South San Francisco, David Oro of American Canyon, Charles Palmares of the City of Vallejo, Cameron Sasai of the City of Pinole, Phil Bacerra of Santa Ana City, and Ditas Yamane of National City. In addition, Krystle Ang of Burbank City was elected treasurer, and Kenneth Mejia of Los Angeles was elected as the city’s first FilAm city controller.

In Hawaii, newcomer Tyler Dos Santos and former member of the State House Val Okimoto were both elected to the Honolulu City Council.

Several Filipino Americans also won school board elections. Thelma Boac and Jaria Jaug won at Berryessa Union School District Board in San Jose, California. Judy Patacsil was elected as a Board Trustee for District 1 of Palomar College in San Diego County. Mike Guingona and Agnes Gonzales also won the election to assume roles at the San Mateo County Community College District Board and Rowland Unified School District, respectively. In addition, Robert Moreno won a seat on the Southwestern Community College District Board of Trustees at South San Diego County, California. 

On the judicial level, Filipina American attorney Mari Parlade won as a District Family Court Judge in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Young FilAms are stepping up

History was made when 23-year-old Cameron Sasai became the youngest FilAm council member in Pinole City, California. The 32-year-old activist and accountant Kenneth Mejia made headlines after becoming the first Filipino and Asian American elected to a citywide office in Los Angeles. In Tennessee, the 26-year-old activist Justin Jones was elected state representative of District 52, becoming the youngest lawmaker in their state capitol. In Hawaii, 36-year-old Brandon Elefante will become Hawaii’s youngest state senator in the coming term.

Steven Raga is first FilAm elected to the New York State Assembly.

© The FilAm 2022

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