By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES – California is home to the largest number of Filipinos in the U.S. and while many Filipino-American leaders have held local offices in the golden state in the past, no one had been able to get into the state legislature — until now.

After the November 2012 elections, 41-year old Rob Bonta made history as the first Filipino-American to be elected to the California State Assembly.

He said, “I’m so excited and extremely honored to serve the people of California.”

The Philippine-born Yale graduate has dedicated his life to serve the underserved in the community. He serves the immigrant community by working with the Asian American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County, the Filipino Advocates for Justice and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation.

Growing up, Bonta was surrounded by the great leaders of the farm workers movement that began in Delano, California.

His Visayan mother and European father were organizers for the United Farm Workers who fought alongside Philip Vera Cruz, Larry Itliong and Pete Velasco for farmers’ rights.

Bonta said, “They taught me the importance of public service. I always wanted to serve. I always wanted to help people who are in need, who are vulnerable, with challenges and problems, for me that vehicle is public service.”

Bonta’s public service led him to work for the city and county of San Francisco as deputy city attorney. He was serving as vice-mayor for the city of Alameda before running for the state assembly.

Eddie Angeles, senior assistant of the Los Angeles City Attorney said, “He knows what it’s like to be in the trenches as a city attorney, being in the trenches as a public servant and now to be a legislative body, so he is a great symbol and representative of all of us as lawyers in the state of California as Filipino-Americans.”

Bonta now represents Northern California cities of Alameda, San Leandro and Oakland as a California Assemblyman.

As legislator, this father of three co-authored a bill aimed at controlling ammunition sales in California. Bonta also vows to fight for better public schools. He also wants to introduce legislation that would highlight the contributions of Filipino World War II veterans and Filipino farm workers in California’s classrooms.

Bonta concluded, “I may be the first Filipino-American state legislator in the history of California, but I am committed that I won’t be the last. There will be others coming in after me and we’ll build a pipeline of the next generation of great leaders to also serve.”

If you know a kababayan like Rob Bonta who inspires you and makes you proud, you may nominate him/her by sending an email to or calling (650) 508-6137.

2 Comments on this post.

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    24 January 2013 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    […] .. Continue reading “THE FILIPINO CHAMPION: ROB BONTA, MAKING HISTORY IN CALIFORNIA” here or browse more proud noypi news and stories. Related Posts:THE FILIPINO CHAMPION: REX NAVARETTE […]

    25 January 2013 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Thank you to all our kababayans for stepping up to support my son, Rob Bonta and his commitment to be a strong and clear voice for Filipino Americans as the first Filipino American in the California Legislature. History-making achievements such as Rob’s election to AD 18 could only be possible when we are united together to make it happen. We know he will serve the diverse communities of AD 18 well and be sensitive to the issues we face in the Filipino American community. MABUHAY TAYONG LAHAT!