California Assemblymember Rob Bonta has been nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom as the new attorney general on Wednesday.
Bonta, 48, would be the first Filipino American to serve as the state’s Attorney General, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Bonta represents Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro in the State Legislature. He would replace Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was sworn in earlier this week as the 25th secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Rob represents what makes California great – our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices,” Newsom said in a press release.
The governor described Bonta, who has been a member of the California Assembly since 2012, as a “leader in the fight to reform our justice system and stand up to the forces of hate.”
His mother, Cynthia, immigrated to California in the 1960s by a three-week boat ride from the Philippines. His father, Warren, who grew up in Ventura County, joined Martin Luther King Jr.’s civil rights organizing in Alabama to pass the Voting Rights Act.
Bonta’s parents also worked with Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta and Philip Veracruz, to support Latino and Filipino farmworkers.
“I’m grateful that Governor @GavinNewsom has selected me to serve as your next Attorney General. Here in California, we look out for each other. I hope you’ll join me in the fight to root out injustice and protect all Californians,” Bonta said in an Instagram post.
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Bonta’s achievements in the legislature include authoring legislation to ban for-profit prisons and immigration detention centers in California; introducing bills to support victims of hate crimes; and authoring legislation requiring immigrants to be informed of their rights before speaking to ICE agents.
“As California’s Attorney General, I will work tirelessly every day to ensure that every Californian who has been wronged can find justice and that every person is treated fairly under the law,” Bonta said.
Assemblymember Evan Low voiced his support for Bonta:
“Governor Newsom has once again shown his commitment to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community with the historic appointment of Attorney General Bonta. Hate crimes targeting the AAPI community have skyrocketed over the last year, and we need a champion who will make the pursuit of justice for these victims a top priority. I have full faith AG Bonta is the right man to meet this moment.”
Feature Image via EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases