SAN FRANCISCO—California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his appointment of Assemblyman Rob Bonta as the state’s new Attorney General. If the state legislator confirms his appointment, Bonta will be the first Filipino American to serve in the role. He will fill the vacancy left after Xavier Becerra’s was confirmed as the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary for the Biden administration.

The governor made the announcement on Wednesday, March 24, at the International Hotel Manilatown Center in San Francisco.

“Rob represents what makes California great – our desire to take on righteous fights and reverse systematic injustices,” Newsom said. “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.”

Bonta was elected to the California State Assembly in 2012, where he represented the Bay Area district that included Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro.

The Office of the Governor of California’s Twitter stated that Bonta “will fight to reform our justice system & stand up to hate. He has led efforts to end cash bail, ban for-profit prisons, renter protections, and hate crime protections. He will be a staunch advocate for CA values.”

Bonta, 49, was one of four names recommended for the job by the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

“I am honored and humbled,” Bonta stated. “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.”

He voted last year to pass Assembly Bill 1506, a law that requires the state attorney general’s office to investigate police shootings that result in the death of an unarmed civilian. He also has been a strong advocate against the death penalty. In 2019, Bonta co-authored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 12, which would have placed a measure on the state ballot to repeal the death penalty, although the bill did not advance. In March 2019, Governor Newsom put into law an official moratorium that suspends any further executions in California for the rest of his term as governor.

Bonta will make an annual salary of $182,189. His position is up for election in 2022.