SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) — The California legislature officially confirmed Rob Bonta to be California’s next attorney general.
Bonta will be the first Filipino American to serve as California’s next attorney general. His take over of the Department of Justice comes as state leaders hope to see more support for the Asian and Pacific Islander community and police accountability.
“Such an honor, so humbling, overwhelming.”
Bonta says he’s ready to take on a new role as California attorney general, but he’d prefer to be considered something other than the state’s “top cop”.
“I see this role as the people’s attorney, I like the people’s attorney,” Bonta said. “I know people call it the top cop. The role of this office is to fight for everyday folks who are being hurt harmed and mistreated and abused by those abusing their power.”
Bonta will fill the vacant seat left by now U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Bonta has spent the last nine years as a progressive Bay Area assemblyman, at the forefront of pushes to end cash bail and strengthen laws on hate crime. In his new role, he’s promising to prioritize more action on police accountability.
“To do things differently, reimagine different ways that are more fair, more just, compassionate and safer,” he said. “I’m committed to working with all our stakeholders to accomplish that including our law enforcement personnel who are invaluable parts of our communities.”
California lawmakers in both houses Thursday confirmed Bonta’s nomination, passing 62-0 in the Assembly and 29-6 in the Senate.
“I think it’s critical that we, California, have a progressive voice as attorney general,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said. “Even more so as this nation moves to reevaluate our approach to public safety.”
Republican caucus members say they appreciated Bonta’s will to work across the aisle in this position, but ultimately decided to not support to nomination.
“We are still somewhat concerned regarding his past records,” Sen. Patricia Bates said.
“I will be the attorney general for all, and watch and let me prove that to you,” Bonta said.
Bonta will have about a year to prove himself to voters. He says he will run for the office in 2022.