Newsom Nominates Lawmaker Rob Bonta as California Attorney General

Rob Bonta, the first Filipino-American state legislator in California’s nearly 160-year history, was nominated as the state’s attorney general by Governor Gavin Newsom, who called on the Yale-educated son of farmworker activists to battle hate crimes.

Bonta, 48, who has been representing Oakland and surrounding cities since 2012 in the state assembly, succeeds Xavier Becerra, who was recently sworn in as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Biden administration.

“Growing up with parents steeped in social justice movements, Rob has become a national leader in the fight to repair our justice system and defend the rights of every Californian,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a statement. “And most importantly, at this moment when so many communities are under attack for who they are and who they love, Rob has fought to strengthen hate crime laws and protect our communities from the forces of hate.”

Newsom Nominates Lawmaker Rob Bonta as California Attorney General

Bonta, whose parents were organizers for the United Farm Workers of America, grew up in a trailer close to César Chávez’s home, according to his website. He has a law degree from Yale Law School after attending Yale College, where he was an athlete scholar and soccer team captain.

Bonta was previously a deputy city attorney for San Francisco. He fought cases against exploitation and racial profiling while in his private legal practice.

In choosing Bonta, Newsom passed over contenders that the Los Angeles Times said included Adam Schiff, the Burbank congressman who helped lead impeaching proceedings against President Donald Trump in 2020, Sacramento’s mayor, the top local prosecutor in the heart of Silicon Valley, a state supreme court justice and other legislators.

Bonta’s nomination must be confirmed by the state legislature within 90 days.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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