Newsom chooses progressive lawmaker as top cop

Inside California Politics

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Inside California Politics) — Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he will nominate Assemblyman Rob Bonta to be California’s next attorney general.

If confirmed, Bonta, D-Alameda, would be the state’s first Filipino American attorney general. He would replace Xavier Becerra, who was just confirmed as President Joe Biden’s health secretary.

Some state leaders have been urging Newsom to pick an Asian American Pacific Islander for the position.

“He is experienced, he is qualified, he is a person of color, he understands the experiences of many of us,” State Treasurer Fiona Ma said of Bonta last week.

Newsom and Bonta issued statements through the governor’s office Wednesday afternoon.

Rob represents what makes California great – our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices. 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. 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. He will be a phenomenal Attorney General, and I can’t wait to see him get to work.

Gov. Gavin Newsom

Thank you, Governor. I am humbled by the confidence you have placed in me. I became a lawyer because I saw the law as the best way to make a positive difference for the most people, and it would be an honor of a lifetime to serve as the attorney for the people of this great state. As California’s Attorney General, I will work tirelessly every day to ensure that every Californian who has been wronged can find justice and that every person is treated fairly under the law.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda

Bonta, who was born in the Philippines, grew up in California. After attending Yale Law School, he moved back to the Golden State to practice law. He was a deputy city attorney in San Francisco for nine years before running for local office.

Bonta was first elected to the Assembly in 2012. He was the state’s first Filipino American state legislator.

State laws he’s introduced that were signed into law include a measure to automatically expunge marijuana-related offenses from people’s records after California legalized recreational marijuana, to eliminate private prisons and to end cash bail. Voters rejected the bail change in a 2020 referendum.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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