Rob Bonta sworn in as California Attorney General

California Attorney General Rob Bonta was sworn in by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday, Jan. 6 at the California Museum in Sacramento. Bonta, the first Filipino American to hold this post, was joined by his family during the ceremony.  Photo from Instagram/@robbonta

Bonta shares plans for 2023

CALIFORNIA Attorney General Rob Bonta was sworn in as the state’s top prosecutor at the California Museum in Sacramento, marking the start of a full four-year term.

In his inaugural address on Friday, Jan. 6, Bonta — the first Filipino American to hold the position — honored the diverse leaders of California, including the Filipino and Latino pioneers of the 20th-century labor movement.

“Everyone was there because of the mission. We all saw injustice in the world, and we wanted to fix it. It’s why I decided to become a public attorney — to fight for those who’ve been wronged. And it’s that fight for justice — for all Californians — that motivates me today,” Bonta said.

Previously, Bonta was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in April 2021 after former Attorney General Xavier Becerra left the post to serve as the United States secretary of Health and Human Services.

Bonta was previously a California state assemblymember from 2012 to 2021, and he was the first Filipino American to be elected into the state Legislature.

As assemblymember, he served the Alameda area that encompasses California State Assembly District 18, which is now helmed by his wife, Mia Bonta.

Bonta’s historic appointment marked the first time a Filipino American had ever been chosen to serve as California attorney general.

As the child of a Filipino mother, Bonta said that his identity plays a significant role in his post, honoring his parents for fostering his desire for public office.

In November 2022, Bonta would win the general election for attorney general of California with 57.2% of the vote.

“A few generations ago, as an Asian American, the law would have denied me the ability to freely testify in court, to access public accommodations like hotels and restaurants, to marry Mia, the person I love,” Bonta stated.

He continued, “This role is a privilege, a duty, and a sacred obligation. I will not squander it. I will use the full authority of my office — the full force of the law — to help as many people as possible and do as much good as I can.”

Since his initial 2021 appointment, Bonta has increased the role of attorney general by tackling everything “from the housing crisis to disparities in our healthcare, education, and criminal justice systems,” he said.

Among Bonta’s achievements so far as attorney general include enacting several measures to “[protect] reproductive freedom,” reinforcing housing rights for people with disabilities and issuing warnings against illegal evictions, cracking down on human trafficking rings, and protecting healthcare rights for California’s elders and Medi-Cal beneficiaries.

Bonta also reavowed his mission to promote gun control laws and public safety, despite his office’s failed online dashboard that was designed to promote transparency regarding data on firearm ownership but accidentally allowed the unauthorized breach of personal information in 2022.

Last month, Bonta joined 18 other states in support of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) “ghost gun” rule that would crack down on unserialized weapons that allow unauthorized manufacturers to circumvent state gun laws to make firearms untraceable.

In addition to Bonta’s inaugural address on Friday, Newsom was also sworn into his second term as California governor.


Klarize Medenilla

Klarize Medenilla is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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