3 Fil-Ams to run for seats in CA legislature

/ 06:32 PM April 25, 2012

Three Filipino Americans have announced their candidacy for the California State Assembly in 2012.

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta (D), Lathrop Vice-Mayor Christopher Mateo (D), and Alameda County Status of Women Commissioner, Dr. Jennifer Ong (D) are all vying to become the first Filipino-Americans to win a seat in the California state legislature.


Bonta, a Yale Law school graduate, is a former Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. Bonta is running against three other candidates to represent Assembly District 18 replacing Mary Hayashi (D), who has termed out.

Christopher Mateo (D), the current vice mayor of Lathrop, is among two candidates to replace Fiona Ma (D), representing Assembly District 12. Ma has also termed out.


Dr. Ong (D), who received her Doctorate in Optometry at UC Berkeley, is among four other candidates vying for the Assembly District 20 seat, to replace incumbent Bob Wieckowski (D). Wieckowski is running for re-election in District 25 due to redistricting.

Filipino support

With the Filipino population rising in the state, and voter registration rising, many politicians are seeking out the Filipino-American vote.

The California State Assembly is the lower house of the California legislature. All 80 seats are up for election this year.

Most recently, the Asian Pacific Islander Public Affairs Association held a town hall where Bonta, and two other candidates, Abel Guillen and Joel Young discussed their candidacy and why they should be elected to represent District 18.

According to ABS-CBN, several Fil-Ams from different political affiliations attended the event and came away impressed with Bonta’s qualifications.

“I believe he can do it and he can represent Filipino-Americans,” said Charito Benipayo, API State Chair for the Republican Party to ABS-CBN.


“Our community should be behind him,” added Fel Amistad, Chair of the Fil-Am Democratic Club of San Mateo County. Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

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