Why Fil-Am lawmaker believes CA Pinoys can impact elections

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

June 17, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – The first Filipino elected to the California State Legislature, Assemblymember Rob Bonta is advancing to the November General Election to defend his post as Representative for the 18th District of the State Assembly.

Bonta, a Democrat, was unopposed in the blanket primary on June 3 and will face Republican David Elrich.

But based on data, not many people in California voted.

The primary had a record low turnout of 18.4 percent.

Recently Bonta was at the Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote fundraiser in San Francisco to get more people, especially Filipinos, to register and vote.

He argues that a million out of the 1.5 million Filipinos who are eligible to vote in California, only half are registered.

According to Bonta, half of those who are registered do not vote.

“I call us the sleeping giant,” said Bonta. “We are a giant. We’re a force to be reckoned with but we need to exercise our full potential to really fully influence the election process and to engage civically.”

Meantime, while campaigning for re-election, Bonta was also instrumental in honoring Filipino and American World War II veterans of the Bataan march by introducing bill ACR 127.

This measure passed on this year’s Philippine Independence Day and declares April 9, 2014, and every April 9th thereafter, as Bataan Death March Veterans Commemoration Day.

“We were able to acknowledge them on the floor of the state of California,” said Bonta. “It was a unanimous vote, getting support from all of my colleagues. Not that many people spoke in support of it so we need to honor our Filipino-American veterans and I was honored to get the chance to do that.”

Bonta made history in 2012 by becoming the first Filipino elected to the California State Legislature and wants to see more Filipinos involved in politics.

“Civic engagement and participation in the electoral process is absolutely critical,” said Bonta. “If you want to have people that share your values, that represent you, that know your community, know your culture, you got to go to the voting booth and vote for that person. Without Filipinos supporting me, I wouldn’t be able to be here.”

You can contact Rommel Conclara at rommel_conclara@abs-cbn.com for more information

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  • Kuya
    17 June 2014 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    cA Pinoys unity will bring back respect to Filipino community and can be a big impact on Ca election.