SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – Following the numerous, recent attacks on the Asian community, the pressure is mounting on Governor Newsom to appoint an Asian American to be the state’s next attorney general.
This request is coming not only from API leaders but also members of the Latino community, saying the time is now for California to have a law enforcement leader who will make it a top priority to stop these hate crimes.
“California deserves to have a top cop who understands our communities,” Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, said.
The U.S. Senate advanced current Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s nomination as health and human services secretary Wednesday with a final approval expected in the coming days.
State Asian and Pacific Islander leaders said they hope Newsom picks Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, to replace Becerra. Bonta is Filipino-American.
“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.
Some state leaders noted not a single current California district attorney is Asian American or Pacific Islander.
“We need to know that we’re being heard,” State Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said. “We need to also ensure that we are represented.”
According to the Stop AAPI Hate organization, which has been tracking alleged discriminatory crimes, California accounted for 45% of reports over the last year — by far the most of any other state.
In response to the crimes, Asian and Pacific Islander lawmakers want the state to establish a racial bias task force and a strike team of immigrant advocates to address hate crimes. They’re also proposing a 24/7 hate crime hotline.
But along with Asian and Pacific Islander members, some Latino leaders are calling on the governor to take the first step.
“This is a critical moment for the governor to do the right thing,” Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo said.
In response, Governor Newsom’s communications director released a statement:
“The Governor looks forward to making an appointment for Attorney General after the confirmation of Attorney General Becerra as Health and Human Services Secretary occurs. He is considering a range of qualified candidates and will announce his decision when one is made.”