Fil-Am Coalition rallies behind Rob Bonta’s re-election bid
ATHERTON, California— Filipino community members and their friends enthusiastically rallied behind Assemblyman Rob Bonta at a Filipino American Coalition (FAC) fundraiser to help the Philippine-born lawmaker’s bid to retain his assembly seat in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
FAC president Francis Espiritu handed Bonta, who represents California’s 18th District, campaign donations and pledges worth $20,000 from a handful of Filipino community leaders and businessmen.
The fundraiser was held Oct. 27 at the residence of businessman-philanthropist Rene Medina in this city.
Bonta, is the highest ranking elected Filipino official in the California Assembly and the first Filipino to be elected in the 160-year history of the California legislature.
He served as deputy city attorney in San Francisco and, held various elected and appointed positions in Alameda before his election as assemblyman in 2012.
‘Makes Filipinos proud’
“Assemblyman Bonta has earned our wholehearted and strong support. His work as a lawmaker and a community activist makes Filipinos proud of their roots and their contributions to diverse and rich culture of California,” said Ademan Angeles, co-founder of FAC.
Bonta successfully introduced legislation that required the inclusion in books and instruction materials of the pioneering contributions of Filipino activists like Larry Itliong, Philip Vera Cruz, Pete Velasco, Dolores Huerta and others in the farm labor movement and for social justice.
Bonta’s passion for justice and equality was instilled at a very young age. His parents taught him to understand injustice and the importance of joining the struggle to empower vulnerable communities. His father was involved in the Civil Rights Movement and stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Deep South—marching for equality and justice in Selma. His mother was and continues to be a longtime leader in the Filipino social justice movement.
Scholar and athlete
Bonta earned his law degree from Yale Law School after attending Yale College and Oxford University in England. Earning honors in college, Rob was also a scholar athlete, captaining the Yale Soccer team. He also paved the way for the advancement of students of color as a mentor and volunteered in support of local children struggling with poverty.
As a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, he represented the City and County and its employees. He was undefeated at trial, never losing a jury verdict for his clients.
Prior to being elected to the Alameda City Council, Rob served as the Chair of the City of Alameda’s Economic Development Commission, where he focused on business attraction and retention efforts.
He was president of the Social Service Human Relations Board, where he fought to protect safety net services for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Was Alameda vice mayor
As Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda, Bonta strongly supported public safety, fostered economic development, and exercised fiscal responsibility.
“He represents the best of the new breed of Filipino American community leaders that have revitalized Filipino empowerment efforts,” Angeles said, citing a number of Filipinos who have or are serving as mayors of Bay Area cities and town with large Filipino populations including Daly City, Colma, Milpitas, South San Francisco and Vallejo.
“But we need more,” said Bonta, adding that “as the largest Asian community in California with a population of over 1.4 million, we should have at least four to six people in the California Assembly.”
Among who attended the event were: Ed and Lily Mauricio of TLC Care Home and Guy Guerrero, Ray Mascarinas, Larry and Rose Formalejo, Don and Thelma Orozco, Walter Batara, Anthony Teo and George and Henry Lam of LF George Properties Corp.