SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California lawmakers have approved the state’s first Filipino American to hold the top law enforcement job in the nation’s most populous state.

They say the progressive Democrat is taking office during a critical debate over racial justice and the changing role of police. Rob Bonta on Thursday became California’s second attorney general of Asian descent, following Kamala Harris. Harris’ rise to U.S. senator and now vice president illustrates the prominence of the job.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last month nominated the 49-year-old assemblyman from the east San Francisco Bay Area city of Alameda to succeed Xavier Becerra.

Becerra resigned to become U.S. Health and Human Services secretary.