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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 18

Photo of Rob Bonta

Rob Bonta

California State Assemblymember
190,168 votes (87.6%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Addressing the housing affordability crisis.
  • Fixing the broken criminal justice system.
  • Combating climate change.



Profession:Assemblymember, 18th District
Assemblymember, California State Assembly — Elected position (2013–current)
Deputy City Attorney, San Francisco District Attorney's Office (2003–2012)
Councilmember & Vice Mayor, City of Alameda — Elected position (2010–2012)
Director, Alameda Health Care District — Elected position (2007–2010)


Yale Law School Juris Doctor (1998)
University of Oxford Graduate Studies, Politics, Philosophy and Economics (1994)
Yale College Bachelor of Arts, History (1993)

Community Activities

Executive Board Member & Board Secretary, Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (2018–current)
Former President, Alameda Democratic Club (2006–current)
Former Chair and Member, CA Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus (2012–current)
Commissioner, Alameda County Transportation Commission (2011–2012)
Former Board President, Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County (2006–2009)


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. He became the first Filipino American state legislator in California’s then 160-plus-year history.

Rob’s passion for opportunity 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 and disadvantaged 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 a stone’s throw away from César Chávez’s home, Bonta watched closely as his parents worked for the United Farm Workers of America and 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 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 going to college and law school, 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 worked with children and families in nearby public housing neighborhoods.

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. 

Rob began his career as a publicly-elected official at the local level,  first as a Director of the Alameda Health Care District and later as Vice Mayor of the City of Alameda.

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Rob Bonta:

We are in a housing affordability and homelessness crisis.  We need all tools in the tool box and all hands on deck.  Previous generations of Californians could rent an apartment or buy a home with ease. Today, because of the housing affordability crisis, the next generation is struggling to afford the smallest of apartments; for too many, buying a place of their own in California is an impossibility.  We must produce more housing, preserve existing affordable housing stock, and protect tenants from displacement and push out.  In the Assembly, I introduced legislation that would protect tenants by establishing statewide just-cause protections (AB 2925, 2018). In 2019, I jointly authored AB 1482, which places caps on rent increases and institute statewide just cause protections for tenants. This year, I co-authored AB 3300 which would appropriate up to $2 billion annually to invest in solutions to homelessness. I will continue fighting for state investments in housing/homelessness programs, making it easier for cities to develop low- and moderate-income housing, and seek reform of the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins to better protect tenants.  We need to upzone, incent and streamline the building of more units that are dense and near public transit (like SB 35 and SB 50), push back against NIMBYism, encourage the building of more accessory dwelling units (ADUs), support local and statewide housing bonds (like SB 3 and Alameda County’s Measure A1, both of which I supported) , and identify dedicated sources of funding for affordable housing (like SB 2 or Redevelopment 2.0, both of which I have supported).

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Rob Bonta:

It is absolutely critical that all Californians have access to clean, safe, and accessible drinking water. Even though the state established the “right to water” in 2013, far too many of our communities — disproportionately low-income, people of color — still cannot access clean water. Over the years, I have supported many pieces of legislation by my colleagues that expanded water acess, including legislation that helps schools find resources and funding for water quality (AB 496, 2015) and establish a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SB 200, 2019). I also voted for the Water Bond of 2014 (Proposition 1) and the Parks & Water Bond Act of 2018 (Proposition 68) to address the water needs of all Californians.  I will continue to advocate for equitable clean water access for, and meeting the water needs of, all Californians.

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Rob Bonta:

Climate change is the existential threat of our time.  We are currently witnessing the effects of global climate change firsthand. If we do not act more aggressively and more urgently to combat climate change, young people will inherit a world in which raging fires, punishing droughts, and devastating floods are the new normal. We must respond with solutions that meet the problem in scope, speed, and scale.  California is a national and international leader in combating climate change, and I am proud to be a part of the effort.  As an Assemblymember, I co-authored legislation accelerating our state’s renewable portfolio standards and committing us to a carbon-free power grid by 2045 (SB 100, 2018). I authored the Buy Clean CA Act, which became law in 2017 (AB 262), the nation’s first climate change law of its kind that lowers greenhouse gas emissions in public infrastructure projects.  And I have twice authored the California Green New Deal to ensure we are taking global-leading action in California to address our climate crisis with the transformational solutions science and Mother Nature tell us are required, and to build equity and justice into those solutions.  I am deeply committed to continue the ongoing fight against climate change and to protect and defend our environment and our planet.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Rob Bonta:

California must transform our fundamentally broken, discriminatory criminal justice system from one of mass incarceration and overcriminalization to one of humanization and restorative justice. I’m proud of my efforts to end the broken cash bail system (SB 10, 2018), end for-profit, private prisons (AB 32, 2019), and ensure that Californians with cannabis-related convictions have their records cleared automatically (AB 1793, 2018). This year, I have advocated for the health, safety, and legal rights of immigrants in detention centers and introduced legislation that would provide for accountability and oversight of for-profit, private detention centers as long as they continue to exist (AB 3228). We must do all we can to move away from a punitive system and towards a more humane, more compassionate, smarter, safer system that invests in our communities, including investing in education, health care, job training and job creation, mental health services, counselors, housing, food, and community building.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $1,424,007

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

California Federation of Teachers
California Labor Federation
California School Employees Association (CSEA)
California Teachers Association
SEIU California
SEIU Local 1000
SEIU Local 2015
SEIU United Healthcare Workers West
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 85.26%
District of Columbia 2.02%
Illinois 1.77%
Connecticut 1.44%
Other 9.50%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.55%)
Small contributions (0.45%)

By Type:

From organizations (80.48%)
From individuals (19.52%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

In the State Assembly, Bonta currently serves as the Assistant Majority Leader. He serves on the Appropriations, Communications and Conveyance, Governmental Organization, and Health Committees.

He has authored significant legislation that promotes and defends our California values of Justice, Inclusion, Equity and Opportunity.

The legislation includes:

The TRUTH Act, which stands up for, defends, and protects our immigrant neighbors. Signed into law in 2016, it requires immigrants be informed of their rights before speaking with ICE agents. It also mandates that local law enforcement hold a public forum to discuss their immigration policies, and makes all ICE-related records and data subject to the Public Records Act.

AB 72 from 2016 provides critical consumer protection from Surprise Medical Bills.  A patient can receive a surprise bill even after they’ve done everything right and selected an in-network provider.   Unbeknownst to the patient, a specialist who is not in his or her insurance’s network will provide treatment. The patient has no way of knowing that provider is out-of-network until a bill shows up. Ab 72 outlawed the practice of what the industry calls “balance billing” in these circumstances and now consumers who did everything right are protected from getting hit with a surprise bill.

AB 266, the Medical Cannabis Regulation & Safety Act, was a historic California cannabis policy bill.  In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. But for almost 20 years, the legislature could not agree on a comprehensive set of regulations. Bonta, along with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, brought various stakeholders together to create a set of regulations that ensured patient and consumer safety, gave law enforcement foundational tools to fight impaired driving, protected children from cannabis marketing, and safeguarded the environment from harmful cultivation practices.

AB 1469 in 2014 ensured that California’s hard-working teachers receive the retirement benefits they’ve been promised. This bill tackled California’s largest unfunded liability head-on with a shared responsibility approach that created a permanent, on-going funding solution that will achieve full funding for teacher retirement.

The Buy Clean California Act, passed in 2017, was a first-of-its-kind environmental bill to fight climate change, the existential threat of our time, and close a large carbon loophole. With Buy Clean, California will put its money where its environmental values are and begin to purchase environmentally clean products for public building projects. This law was supported by a coalition of environmental, labor and industry groups-- all working together to protect our future, and our values and was recently featured during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in 2018.

In 2018, California passed historic bail reform, SB 10, to end an unfair, unsafe, predatory, for-profit money bail system and replace it with a system that’s safer and fairer. SB 10, which Bonta co-authored with his colleague Senator Bob Hertzberg, will implement a system based on an individual’s risk and not on their wealth. Justice should never favor the wealthy and punish the poor. But for too long, the California criminal justice system has treated people who are “guilty and rich” better than people who are “poor and innocent.” All Californians deserve justice and we should never have a justice system that is pay-to-play, a jail house door that opens and closes based on the size of one’s wallet instead of the size of one’s risk, or a practice that punishes poor people for being poor! 

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