OAKLAND — Alameda Unified School District Board of Education President Mia Bonta is among the candidates in Tuesday’s election for the 18th Assembly District. If elected, she will succeed her husband, Rob Bonta, who was appointed state attorney general.
The district includes the cities of Oakland, Alameda and San Leandro, all in Alameda County. Rob Bonta, a Democrat, was first elected in December 2012 and served until last April, when he assumed his new post. He was the first Filipino American to serve in the California Legislature.
In an interview with KQED, Mia Bonta said she was not relying solely on name recognition. “My background and experiences as a child advocate and as a youth advocate and as an advocate for working families stand on their own. And I’m extremely qualified to serve the communities of the East Bay in the State Assembly.”
Bonta said she would lean on her experience in managing the reopening of public schools in Alameda this year. Elementary school children in the district began a return to classroom instruction in March.
“That experience of having to deal with COVID and considering reopening our schools is really the drive behind why I decided to run, in a lot of ways,” Bonta said. “People have been in pain, they’ve been struggling. The incidence of mental health needs have increased substantially for our students and our families.”
If elected, she said, her priorities will be education and housing affordability.
Bonta, who was elected to the school board in 2018, has served as a PTA member, a school site council member, a member of Alameda Free Library Foundation, and an active community member. She also serves as a delegate for the district to the California Democratic Party, worked on several campaigns dedicated to electing progressive labor candidates, and served on the AD-18 Advisory Committees for Women, Education, and Early Childhood.
In addition to her husband, Bonta’s endorsers include Sen. Alex Padilla, Reps. Barbara Lee and Jimmy Gomez, California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Sens. Steven Bradford and Sydney Kamlager-Dove, State Board of Equalization member Malia Cohen, Assemblymembers Jim Cooper, Kevin McCarty, Christopher Holden, Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Autumn Burke, Chris Ward, Mike Gipson, Dr. Akilah Weber, Rudy Salas, James Ramos, Miguel Santiago, Eduardo Garcia, Jose Medina, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Richard Bloom, Patrick O’Donnell, and Brian Maienschein, and Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao.
“I am a Black Latina, daughter of activists, and the mother of three Filipino children,” Bonta told Inquirer.net. “I have a strong affinity for, and responsibility for allyship with the Filipino community.”
Her organizational endorsers include PALAD (Pilipino American Los Angeles Democrats).
The other candidates are James Aguilar (D) of the San Leandro Board of Education; San Leandro Vice Mayor Victor Aguilar (D); Janani Ramachandran (D), social justice attorney; Alameda City Councilmember Malia Vella (D), the only Filipino American in the race; Joel Britton (Independent), retail worker; Eugene Canson (D), public health professional; Stephen Slauson (R), electrical engineer.
If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers in August.