Assemblymember Rob Bonta was elected to the California State Assembly's 18th District in 2012, where he represents the cities of Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro as the first and only Filipino American legislator in the 165-year history of California.
Rob’s passion for justice and equality was instilled in him at a very young age by his parents, who taught him to understand injustice and the importance of joining the struggle to empower vulnerable communities. His father was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and stood with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Deep South---marching for equality and justice in Selma. His mother was and continues to be a long-time leader in the Filipino social justice movement.
Growing up in a trailer just a few hundred yards from César Chávez’s home, Bonta watched closely as his parents organized Filipino and Mexican American farm workers, infusing his formative years with first-hand experience of one of the greatest peaceful social, racial, and economic justice movements of all time. This had a huge impact on Rob’s life choices and pursuits, inspiring his life’s commitment to helping people.
Rob believed legal training was one of the most powerful ways to effect positive and profound change in the lives of those who needed it most. He worked his way through college cleaning laundry rooms and, with the help of financial aid, was able to achieve his dream of attending some of the best universities in the world, obtaining his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School after attending Yale College and Oxford University in England. Earning honors in college, Rob was also a scholar athlete, captaining the Yale Soccer team. He also paved the way for the advancement of students of color as a mentor and volunteered in support of local children struggling with poverty.
His legal career included work as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco, where he represented the City and County and its employees, and as a private attorney, where he fought to protect Californians from exploitation and racial profiling. Rob was undefeated at trial, never losing a jury verdict for his clients. Prior to being elected to the Alameda City Council, Rob served as the Chair of the City of Alameda’s Economic Development Commission, where he focused on business attraction and retention efforts, and as board president for the Social Service Human Relations Board, where he fought to protect safety net services for the most vulnerable members of the community. As Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda, Bonta strongly supported public safety, fostered economic development, and exercised fiscal responsibility.
Bonta currently serves as the Assistant Majority Leader. He serves on the Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health Committees. He is also chair of the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus and serves on the Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color.
Rob and his wife Mialisa live in Alameda with their three children.