Several Fil-Am candidates triumph in local NorCal races

Fil-Am incumbents for local Northern California races (L-R): Alameda councilmember Malia Vella, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Daly City Vice Mayor Juslyn Manalo, Daly City Mayor Glenn Sylvester, and Vallejo councilmember Rozzana Verder-Aliga

INCUMBENTS Rob Bonta, Juslyn Manalo, Glenn Sylvester, Christopher Cabaldon, Rozzana Verder-Aliga and Malia Vella were among a number of Filipino American bets in Northern California who won their respective races in the November 3 general election, according to initial results posted on different county websites.

Bonta, state assemblymember for California’s Assembly District 18, handily won his race against Stephen Slauson, capturing 89,724 votes, or 88.07% of total votes cast. This is the fourth time that Bonta has been overwhelmingly re-elected to represent the district, garnering more than 85% of the votes in each election cycle.

“Deeply honored & thankful to be re-elected to the CA State Assembly & to have the opportunity to continue to serve the most woke, engaged, enlightened, & justice-oriented District in the State,” Bonta wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday, November 4.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon

Cabaldon, the longest-serving mayor in the city of West Sacramento’s history, garnered 5,531 votes, or 52.49% of total votes cast to defeat his opponent, Martha Guerrero. Cabaldon was elected mayor of West Sacramento in 2004 in the city’s first direct mayoral election. Previously, he had been selected as mayor by the city council for several one-year terms after getting elected to the city council in 1996.

Manalo and Sylvester, who are among four Filipino Americans comprising the five-member city council in Daly City, were successful in their re-election bids. Manalo garnered 16,924 votes, while Sylvester secured 13,958 votes to easily fend off two other challengers for the two open seats in the city council. Both Manalo and Sylvester were first elected to the city council in 2016.

Verder-Aliga, who first served as city councilmember for District 1 in Vallejo with a partial term in 2013, beat two other contenders for the post, garnering 3,365 mail-in and in-person votes, about 45.5% of the total votes cast. The senior mental health manager at Solano County Behavioral Health was the first Filipino American woman elected to public office in Vallejo (1993) and Solano County (2007).

Vella, who was first elected to the Alameda city council in 2016, led vote-getters for the two open seats in the council, garnering 8,165 votes, or 22.96% of total votes cast. Vella has served as vice mayor for Alameda, and is the first Filipina to be elected to the city council.

Winners on Tuesday include Evelyn Chua for Milpitas City Council; Alexander Walker-Griffin for Hercules City Council; Gina Dawson for Lafayette City Council; and Vigdis Asmundson, Governing Board Member for the Davis Joint Unified School District.

Alexander Walker-Griffin, who is African American and Filipino, was successful in his bid for the Hercules city council, garnering 3,907 total mail-in and in-person votes. As previously reported in the Asian Journal, Griffin’s background includes serving on the California Community College Board of Governors and being a founding member of Calbright College. He was the top vote-getter among six hopefuls, who included Pinay Celsa Taraya, for the three open seats on the council.

Evelyn Chua is likely to triumph in her bid this time for one of two available seats on the Milpitas City Council. Having lost by a few hundred votes in 2016, Chua has garnered 5,418 votes, or 18.8% of total votes cast to sit in second place among eight contenders for two open seats in the Milpitas city council. Another Fil-Am, Julian Jose Nool Hilario, Jr., also ran in the crowded race but only captured 11% of the vote.

In Lafayette, a city in Contra Costa County, Gina Dawson garnered a total of 6,370 votes, or 26.55% of total votes cast to win one of three open seats in the city council. Dawson is an active community participant in many organizations within the city, including being co-founder of Save Lafayette Trees and the Gas Safety Task Force, and forming the Lafayette Gas Safety Alliance with residents, Pacific Gas & Election, the California Public Utilities Commission and the city.

In Davis, Vigdis Asmundson handily won the short term post as Governing Board Member for the Davis Joint Unified School District, garnering 14,811 votes, or 84.44% of total votes cast. Asmundson is the daughter of former Davis, CA mayors Vigfus and Ruth Asmundson, the latter of whom was the first Filipina American mayor in the city. In an interview The Davis Vanguard, Vigdis said that her mother Ruth was proudly Filipino and raised her and her other siblings to be proudly Filipino.

Iranian-Filipina Marjan Philhour, formerly a senior advisor to San Francisco Mayor London Breed, attempted a run for San Francisco Supervisor (District 1), but came in second with 34% of the vote behind incumbent Connie Chan.

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