By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
Filipino Americans and other AAPI leaders Wednesday called on California Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint Assemblymember Rob Bonta to State Attorney General.
“Today we uplift Rob Bonta for our choice for CA Attorney General,” said Robert Chua, Northern California Chair of the Fil Am Democratic Caucus. Chua chaired what he called both a rally and a news conference.
The position will become open once President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Xavier Becerra for U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services is confirmed by the now-Democratically controlled senate following the elections of Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia Tuesday.
Bonta would be the third Asian American to currently hold a statewide office in California, but the first Filipino American.
The others are State Controller Betty Yee and State Treasurer Fiona Ma. Today Ma threw her support behind Bonta.
“This is what it takes to get people from our community to get appointed-grassroots support,” said Ma. “We saw this happen with Kamala Harris.”
According to Christian Edlegan of KAYA: Filipino Americans for Progress, Filipino Americans are the largest Asian American group in California- numbering 1.6 million.
“Kaya is Tagalog for ‘yes we can.’ Civic engagement of AAPIS is on the rise and we need to foster that power,” said Edlegan.
Bonta, a Yale Law graduate, has served as both a Deputy City Attorney in San Francisco and a trial attorney. Zathrina Perez, President of the California Asian Pacific American Bar Association, says Bonta is undefeated as a trial attorney and threw her organization’s support behind Bonta. So did Christian Edlegan, President of the National Filipino American Law Association. She pointed out both Bonta and Harris have received the group’s highest honor, the Daniel Inouye Trailblazer award.
Bonta is the son of union organizers in the farm labor movement.
“Rob Bonta’s march from his early days in the labor movement sitting on his parents lap across from Cesar Chavez…to this day-it is a special moment,” said Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance.
The California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce joined the Labor Alliance in support.
“Assemblymember Bonta has been a tireless advocate for the AAPI community. His commitment to California small business community is important. 80-90 percent of this economy is small business,” said Pat Fong Kushida.
Other Asian Americans mentioned as possible nominees for Attorney General include Assemblymember Ash Kalra who represents San Jose and Assemblymember David Chiu who represents San Francisco.
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