Asian Journal: Rob Bonta Makes History As California’s First Filipino American Attorney General

CALIFORNIA is set to have its first Filipino American attorney general.

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), who became the first Fil-Am in the state Legislature, is making history again after Governor Gavin Newsom nominated him to be the next chief law enforcement officer on Wednesday, March 24.

“Thank you, Governor Newsom, for the privilege and honor of a lifetime,” Bonta said on Wednesday, speaking from International Hotel Manilatown Center in San Francisco, surrounded by his family. “I’m so humbled in the trust, faith and the confidence that you placed in me.”

His nomination is subject to confirmation by the California State Assembly and Senate within 90 days, according to the governor’s office.

“Rob represents what makes California great — our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices,” Newsom said in a statement. “Growing up with parents steeped in social justice movements, Rob has become a national leader in the fight to repair our justice system and defend the rights of every Californian. And most importantly, at this moment when so many communities are under attack for who they are and who they love, Rob has fought to strengthen hate crime laws and protect our communities from the forces of hate. He will be a phenomenal Attorney General, and I can’t wait to see him get to work.”

The 48-year-old Fil-Am’s ascension to the top post comes after outgoing Attorney General Xavier Becerra was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 18 to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

“I stand here because of so many people who come before me, including people like the Asian Americans and Filipino Americans who assembled right here at the International Hotel on August 4, 1977,” Bonta said, crediting his activist parents Warren and Cynthia, who organized against evictions at the San Francisco residential hotel.

This is Newsom’s third historic appointment to a key post since January, following Alex Padilla being tapped to take over Vice President Kamala Harris’ Senate seat, and Dr. Shirley Weber, a former assemblymember, for secretary of state. Padilla became the state’s first Latino U.S. Senator, while Weber is the first African American in her role.

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