WHAT THEY ARE SAYING: Rob Bonta’s Historic Appointment to Serve as California Attorney General

March 25, 2021

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced he will appoint California Assemblymember Rob Bonta to serve as California Attorney General – an office left open when Xavier Becerra was confirmed as HHS Secretary under President Joe Biden. Bonta’s appointment is historic. Once confirmed by the California State Legislature, Bonta will be the first Filipino-American to hold the position of California Attorney General.

DAGA Co-Chairs Massachusetts AG Maura Healey and Nevada AG Aaron Ford said, “We know Bonta has the experience, knowledge, and drive to tackle the multiple crises Californians – and people across the country – are facing during these trying times. There is no doubt Bonta will continue the legacy of being a true people’s lawyer for all Californians – just like his predecessors HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Vice President Kamala Harris.”

DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin praised Governor Newsom’s selection saying, “We are thrilled to welcome Rob Bonta into our room here at the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Bonta’s strong track record of fighting for justice and equity—whether it be criminal justice and immigration reforms, environmental justice, or consumer protection—sets him up for success as he takes charge at California DOJ … At a time when hate crimes towards the API community are increasingly visible, we commend Governor Newsom for elevating a leading API voice to this nationally recognized office. Bonta is a lifelong public servant and has the experience to lead this new era at California DOJ.”

For more on the next California Attorney General Rob Bonta, watch the video introducing him here.

Here is what leaders and organizations across California–and the country–are saying about Rob Bonta’s historic appointment to serve as California Attorney General:

Democratic Attorneys General

  • DAGA Co-Chair Massachusetts AG Maura Healey:Welcome to the team, @RobBonta! Looking forward to working with you to protect the rights of the American people and hold powerful interests accountable.” [LINK]
  • DAGA Co-Chair Nevada AG Aaron Ford: “Congratulations, @RobBonta! We worked together as legislators from our respective states; now we get to do it again [as] attorneys general! Looking forward to continuing working with you!” [LINK]
  • Connecticut AG William Tong: “Congratulations @RobBonta and welcome to the ranks of AAPI attorneys general. I’m excited to work with you, especially with your Connecticut connections — Yale Law School and a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson in Hartford. I wish you luck in your new role. [LINK]
  • Vermont AG TJ Donovan: “Congratulations @RobBonta. I look forward to being your colleague and working hard in the pursuit of justice!” [LINK]
  • Virginia AG Mark Herring: “Exciting news – congratulations to the next Attorney General of California, @RobBonta! History made in California and plenty of progress ahead.” [LINK]
  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson: “Congratulations @RobBonta. I look forward to working together to promote justice.” [LINK]
  • Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul: “Congrats @RobBonta on your appointment to serve as California’s next AG! I look forward to working together to protect the environment, defend people’s rights, ensure that consumers are protected, and much more.” [LINK]

National Leaders

  • Stacey Abrams: “Congratulations to my dear friend & former law school classmate @RobBonta on his appointment as California’s next Attorney General!” [LINK]
  • Alicia Garza: “In appointing CA’s next AG, @GavinNewsom will make a BIG decision about the direction of our criminal justice system. @RobBonta, who has passed major reforms, would be a partner in creating a more just system. He will have every Californian’s back.” [LINK]
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill: “BIG NEWS!” [LINK]
  • DLCC President Jessica Post: “THRILLED to see our @DLCC Executive Committee member @robbonta become California’s Attorney General. Huge congratulations from all of us here! And trust us California, you are lucky to have Rob Bonta on your side. He’s an incredible problem solver with a clear moral compass.” [LINK]
  • Tom Steyer: “Congratulations to @RobBontaCA, a good friend and longtime fighter for justice here in California! I know he’ll do a lot of good for our state.” [LINK]

California Leaders

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom: “@RobBonta will make history as the 1st CA Filipino Attorney General. He represents what makes CA great–taking on righteous fights & reversing injustices. In this moment of sickening attacks on AAPI Californians there’s no one better to defend CA values” [LINK]
  • California’s First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom: “I’m thrilled to see our friend @RobBonta’s historic appointment as California’s 1st Filipino American Attorney General. He is a father of three who prioritizes equity for children and adults alike, and will continue to make California proud and fight for justice for all!” [LINK]
  • Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis: “Throughout his career, @RobBontaCA has shown an unwavering dedication to addressing criminal justice reform. He is a historic choice for Attorney General. Congratulations!” [LINK]
  • California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber: My warmest congratulations to @robbonta on his nomination to be California’s next Attorney General. As a colleague in the Assembly, I saw how talented and principled Rob is in his work to better the lives of every Californian. I’m excited to work with him again to help our state!” [LINK]
  • California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu: “I am delighted and proud to see my friend and law school classmate Rob Bonta nominated for Attorney General.  California is fortunate to have such talented and diverse leaders in public service, and this nomination is especially meaningful for Asian Americans, especially particularly at a time when our community is experiencing great vulnerability and many are fearing for their safety.  Our Chief Justice last week underscored the continuing need to tackle “the disease of racism,” and I’ve always known Rob to be a strong leader in combatting discrimination and protecting the rights of all persons, including groups that for too long have been marginalized or ignored.” [LINK]
  • US Senator Alex Padilla: “Congratulations to my friend Rob Bonta, who will serve as California’s first Filipino attorney general. Great pick by @GavinNewsom.” [LINK]
  • Congressman Ted Lieu: “Congratulations to Assemblymember Rob Bonta for being chosen to serve as California’s next Attorney General. I served with @RobBonta in the CA Legislature and know he will be a terrific AG. @GavinNewsom made a fantastic choice.” [LINK]
  • Congressman Ro Khanna: “Congratulations to Rob Bonta, who just made history as California’s first Filipino Attorney General. He will make a terrific AG!” [LINK]
  • Congresswoman Katie Porter: “As our communities grapple with a terrible spike in anti-Asian hate, @RobBonta’s nomination as our next Attorney General is especially meaningful. He’ll be the first Filipino American to serve our state in this position. Congratulations, Rob!” [LINK]
  • Congressman Adam Schiff: “Congrats to @RobBonta, & to @GavinNewsom on another good pick. Look forward to working with both of them on criminal justice reform, gun safety, consumers & environment. We need to keep California moving forward, and beat back efforts of those seeking to roll back our progress.” [LINK]
  • Congressman Eric Swalwell: “Congrats to @RobBonta on his appointment as CA Attorney General! Coming up through the East Bay ranks, Rob has been a tireless advocate for criminal justice reform, an unflinching voice for the Asian-American community, & a caring, responsive advocate for his constituents.” [LINK]
  • Congresswoman Barbara Lee: “Congratulations to my fellow East Bay rep @RobBontaCA, and thanks to @GavinNewsom, for this historic appointment. Assemblymember Bonta’s commitment to civil rights and justice, and his extensive experience as an attorney and a legislator, will serve our state well.” [LINK]
  • Congressman Jimmy Gomez: “.@RobBontaCA is an excellent choice to be the new California Attorney General! Congratulations my friend.” [LINK]
  • Congresswoman Judy Chu: “Congratulations to @RobBonta on being named California’s new Attorney General and the 1st Filipino to hold the position ever! I am proud to have such a strong advocate fighting for our entire state, especially now as anti-Asian hate crimes continue to rise” [LINK]
  • Congressman Mark Takano: “Congratulations to @RobBontaCA, our new Attorney General. During these difficult times for the AAPI community, it’s heartening to see a Filipino-American leader make history in our state. He will bring progressive change to our criminal justice system.” [LINK]
  • Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus: “Thank you @GavinNewsom on appointing @RobBontaCA as the first Filipino American Attorney General of California! As we continue to see a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in CA, his leadership will be more important now than ever. #RepresentationMatters” [LINK]

California Local Leaders

  • California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon: “In the Assembly, @RobBontaCA has been an effective and energetic generator of bold ideas. I am confident we can expect the same from him as California’s next Attorney General. I’m very pleased to support this excellent nomination by @cagovernor.” [LINK]
  • California Senate President Toni Atkins: “Assemblymember @RobBontaCA’s commitment to justice and equity was apparent to me as Speaker of the Assembly when I appointed him to chair the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color. This was a carefully considered appointment by @CAGovernor, and I am looking forward to the confirmation process where Senators will hear more about the plans our colleague has to make our system of justice work for everybody.” [LINK]
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf: “Proud of my dear friend Rob Bonta, who makes history today as CA’s first — and long overdue — AAPI Attorney General. He’s a leader w/ East Bay grit and values centered in equity. All Californians get a fighter for legal, social + racial justice.” [LINK]
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “Congratulations to @RobBonta, California’s new Attorney General. I wish you great success on behalf of the people of California. Here to help you in any way you need.” [LINK]
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: “I’ve known @RobBontaCA since we studied together in our twenties –– and I know nobody who is more committed to the underdog or better embodies the California Dream. Congratulations, my friend –– you’re going to be a great Attorney General.” [LINK]
  • San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria: “Congrats to my friend @RobBonta on his nomination to be California’s Attorney General — and the first Fil-Am AG! I have seen Rob’s leadership and advocacy for justice first-hand in the Assembly and I know it’s exactly what’s needed in this moment. A great choice by @GavinNewsom!” [LINK]
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia: “Excellent and historic choice by Governor @GavinNewsom. Our new AG will stand up for all and use his experience fighting injustice. Congrats and an incredible day especially for the AAPI community.” [LINK]
  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo: Congratulations to @RobBonta, a brilliant legislator who brings a career of fighting for social justice to the Attorney General’s office.[LINK]
  • Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs: “Congrats to California and @RobBontaCA on being appointed Attorney General. [LINK]
  • Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de Len: “My good friend and former colleague @RobBonta will make an excellent Attorney General. He never shies away from a tough fight, and has the courage of his convictions to stand up and do what’s right. @GavinNewsom clearly made the right choice. Felicidades, Rob!” [LINK]
  • CA State Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus: “Thank you @GavinNewsom for picking @RobBonta for CA Attorney General. This is a historic pick for California and the AAPI community! #ThankYouForPickingRob #AGBonta” [LINK]
  • California LGBTQ Caucus: “Thank you @GavinNewsom for picking @RobBonta for CA Attorney General. This is a historic pick for California and the AAPI community! #ThankYouForPickingRob #AGBonta #StopAsianHate” [LINK]
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC): “Congrats to @RobBonta on being named as our next CA Attorney General! We celebrate the appointment of our 1st Filipino American AG & applaud your record on advancing civil rights protections, including your leadership in authoring the #VISIONAct last yr to #stopICEtransfers.” [LINK]
  • Asian Pacific Islander Capitol Association: “APICA is proud to congratulate Assemblymember Rob Bonta for his appointment as California’s next Attorney General! As the first Filipino-American in this role, Assemblymember Bonta will continue to inspire more API professionals to pursue impactful careers in public service.”  [LINK]

Affinity Groups

  • National Association of Asian Pacific Bar Association: “NAPABA celebrates the nomination of California Assemblymember @RobBonta to be the state’s next attorney general. Bonta will be the first Filipino American to hold the position” [LINK]
  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (APABA-LA): “The Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County (“APABA”) congratulates Assemblymember Rob Bonta on his historic appointment as California’s Attorney General. Mr. Bonta will be the first-ever Filipino American to serve as Attorney General, following the state Legislature’s confirmation.” [LINK]
  • Asian Pacific American Leadership Action Fund: “Thank you Governor @GavinNewsom for this historic pick! Congratulations to our community leader, @RobBontaCA! #ThankYouForPickingRob #AGBonta” [LINK]
  • Latino Community Foundation: “Congratulations @RobBonta on your historic appointment to become our state’s next Attorney General! As a longtime friend and ally of the Latino community, we look forward to your leadership on behalf of all Californians!” [LINK]
  • Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS): “APAICS would like to thank Governor @GavinNewsom and to congratulate @RobBonta on becoming California’s next Attorney General! #RepresentationMatters” [LINK]
  • Latino Coalition for a Healthy California: “LCHC is proud to congratulate @RobBontaCA on his appointment as CA’s 1st Filipino Attorney General! We applaud @CAgovernor on an excellent choice for this role.” [LINK]
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) Vote: “Congratulations to One Nation Commissioner @RobBontaCA for being appointed as California Attorney General. This is a major win for the people of California and the six-million-strong AAPI community in the Golden State! Raising hands” [LINK]
  • CalAsian Chamber: “We are excited to congratulate our Attorney General-Select @RobBontaCA on his appointment today! We are elated at the @CAgovernor’s decision and we look forward to working with him!” [LINK]

Criminal Justice Reform Organization

  • REFORM Alliance: “Gov. @GavinNewsom made a tremendous choice for AG with @RobBonta. Congratulations, Asm. Bonta and thank you for being a strong supporter of justice reform in CA.” [LINK]
  • Californians for Safety and Justice: “We celebrate @CAgovernor’s nomination of @RobBonta to be CA’s next Attorney General! By naming a champion of criminal justice reform, invested in creating shared safety for all, Governor @GavinNewsom has demonstrated his commitment to creating a more safe and just California.” [LINK]

Environmental Justice Organizations

  • California League of Conservation Voters: “We are thrilled by this decision. @RobBontaCA has been an environmental champion for California’s families with a proven track record of centering climate and equity in his work.” [LINK]
  • NextGen Policy: “Congrats to @RobBonta on becoming CA’s Attorney General! NextGen is proud to call Asm Bonta a partner and friend, and we look forward to continuing our work together in the pursuit of justice and equity for ALL Californians.” [LINK]
  • California Environmental Justice Alliance: “We celebrate the nomination of #EJChampion @RobBontaCA for CA Attorney General! We look forward to continuing our work together to advance the health and wellbeing of communities of color on the frontlines of poverty and pollution. Congratulations @RobBontaCA!” [LINK]
  • Natural Resources Defense Council: “NRDC congratulates Assemblymember Rob Bonta on his nomination as California’s next Attorney General, following the confirmation of Xavier Becerra as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Pending likely confirmation by the California legislature, Bonta will quickly step into this new role. Assemblymember Bonta has helped carry the fight for environmental justice and climate equity in Sacramento and has been a solid vote on legislation to fight climate change…” [LINK]

Civil Rights Organizations

  • ACLU SoCal: “We congratulate Assemblymember @RobBontaCA on his nomination to attorney general. Bonta has an opportunity to address structural racism in our criminal legal system and advance racial justice.” [LINK]
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ_AAJC): “Huge congratulations to @RobBontaCA on becoming the first Filipino-American Attorney General of California! ‘I became a lawyer because I saw the law as the best way to make a positive difference for the most people.’” [LINK]
  • Equality California: “Congratulations to @RobBonta for his historic nomination as California Attorney General! Asm. Bonta is a dedicated partner to Equality California & has demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting civil rights, safeguarding our California values and advancing justice for all.” [LINK]

Immigration Organizations

  • California Immigrant Policy Center: “We look forward to working with @RobBontaCA. His track record shows his interest in leading from a place of equity/justice, and we hope he continues this as Attorney General. Californians deserve a champion who has a powerful and bold vision for California’s immigrant communities” [LINK]
  • Freedom for Immigrants: “Congratulations @RobBonta on your appointment as AG. The CA Dept of Justice has power to provide oversight & enforcement on detention. We look forward to working with you to ensure accountability and implement CA’s detention laws.” [LINK]
  • Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA): “.@RobBonta congratulations on your appointment. We look forward to working with you to bring justice to our communities.” [LINK]
  • National Immigration Law Center: “Congratulations @RobBontaCA on your historic nomination as California’s first Filipino-American to serve as Attorney General! Now more than ever, your leadership on criminal justice reform will ensure our communities have equal access to justice.” [LINK]

Reproductive Rights Organizations

  • Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California: “We congratulate @RobBonta on his historic appointment as CA’s next Attorney General. Asm. Bonta has been a steadfast champion for health care access, immigrants’ rights, and racial justice, and we look forward to working with him in his new role to promote health equity for all.” [LINK]
  • NARAL Pro-Choice California: “HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to reproductive freedom champion @RobBonta who has been appointed to serve as CA Attorney General! Excellent pick by @GavinNewsom. We are thrilled to get to work with you as #AG to protect and expand #reprofreedomforall” [LINK]

Gun Violence Prevention Organizations

  • Giffords: “Congratulations to @RobBonta on his nomination to be California’s next AG. As an assemblymember, he has been a champion of gun safety reform and public health-based solutions. We look forward to his leadership in keeping Californians safe from gun violence.” [LINK]

Labor Unions

  • California Labor Federation: “Great choice, Governor! @RobBonta is a champion on workers’ rights who will vigorously defend all workers from exploitation, abuse & violence. Historic day for Californians!” [LINK]
  • United Farm Workers: “This is great news for California. @RobBonta has always worked with us, voted for us and marched with the farm worker movement— on issues from collective bargaining rights to overtime pay equality. This a fantastic choice for equality and justice in CA. ¡Si, se puede!” [LINK]
  • SEIU California: “Congratulations @RobBontaCA on your nomination to CA A.G. A key leader in the movement to end the racially biased system of money bail, we can ensure our justice system upholds the promise of equal treatment of the law for all – Brown, Black, white & API” [LINK]
  • California Teachers Association: “Congratulations Mr. Attorney General!” [LINK]
  • California Federation of Teachers: “Congratulations to @RobBonta, California’s first Filipino Attorney General!!!!” [LINK]
  • SEIU Local 2015: “Congratulations @RobBonta! We are so proud and excited to see someone so passionate about #justicereform, #immigrantsrights, and #workerrights take office, especially as the first Filipino AG. We can’t wait to see what we can do together. #UnionStrong” [LINK]
  • United Domestic Workers / AFSCME Local 3930: “We strong commend Governor Newsom for appointing Asm. Rob Bonta to be California’s next Attorney General.” [LINK]
  • Teamsters Local 2010: “Congratulations to @RobBontaCA, California’s new Attorney General! Our future AG has always been a champion for workers and a friend to Local 2010. We’re proud to see him appointed California’s first Filipino-American Attorney General!” [LINK]

Key Celebrity Voices

  • Olivia Munn: “LFG!!! @RobBonta #BontaforAG #AsianPride” [LINK]
  • Q Allan Brocka: “Congratulations!!! @RobBonta will become California’s first Filipino Attorney General!” [LINK]
  • Lisa Ling: “Congratulations to @RobBonta! Our new Attorney General of the great state of California.” [LINK]
  • Nico Santos: “Congrats @RobBontaCA!!! #PinoyPride”  [LINK]
  • Apl.de.Ap: “Rob Bonta is the top ranking CA lawyer! Filipino excellence” [LINK]
  • Van Jones: “Wonderful news & a big win for #CriminalJusticeReform !!! Congratulations to @RobBontaCA and even more appreciation for the great @GavinNewsom!!!” [LINK]


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