Americas Columns

Through a Looking Glass (Alice H. Reyes): Rob Bonta — Attorney for the people

California’s Attorney General  Robert Andres Bonta has the distinction of being the
First Fil-American to be elected to the California State Legislature and to be Attorney-General of the State of California.
      Appointed Attorney-General by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021, Bonta ran for the post the next year and won handily over his Republican opponents.
     “My job,” he said at a recent interview, “ is  to enforce the law in Callifornia.”
     Born in Quezon City, Philippines to parents Warren and Cynthia Bonta, he was barely two months old when the Bontas  moved to the United States.
      They first lived in a trailer at the United Farmers Workers headquarters  at Nuestra Senora  Reina de la Paz  near Keene, California  before moving to Fair Oaks, a suburb of Sacramento.
     Bonta studied at the Bon Vista High School, where he graduated valedictorian. He got his B.A. in history, cum laude, in 1995, went to Oxford  for a year to study  politics, economics and history, proceeded to Yale Law School, where he graduated Juris Doctor in 1998.
     He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1999.
     The first and only one in the Bonta family to take up Law, Rob Bonta  bared that he had always wanted to be a lawyer after reading “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
    His interest in social justice and civil rights was inspired by his father who was active in the  labor and Civil Rights Movement.
        Though he hadn’t planned to enter the field of politics, having worked for the ACLU, his work was cut out for him.
       His private law practice had  enabled him to handle cases in areas such as civil rights, crime, insurance, patent infringement, legal malpractice, contracts and frauds. He was certainly prepared to be Attorney-General of his State.
      Since assuming the post, he has traveled to different parts of the State to see for himself  what his office can do to serve California families   by making their lives better   and improving their human condition.
      Such includes stopping gun violence,  fighting hate, protecting  civil rights, stopping transnational criminal  organizations, helping victims of crime, standing up to powerful interests  which hurt consumers, getting justice for workers, tackling underground economy and  standing up for immigrant  communities.
      Bonta considers affordability, housing,  cost of living  and public safety  among his state’s  biggest problems.
     Dubbed the “Attorney of the People,” he has  striven throughout his political life to get justice for Californians.
    Because of his dedication to his work, he considers balancing his work and his family his greatest challenge.
      Fortunately, he is married to an understanding wife, Mia, who is also a public servant, as Assemblywoman, and they have three offspring: Reina, Iliana and Andres.
      Californians are certainly blessed to have Rob Bonta as their Attorney-General and we Filipinos are proud to call him one of our own!


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