Mia Bonta, CEO of Oakland Promise, has lived in the district for over 20 years. Bonta earned a master of education degree at Harvard before attending Yale Law School, and has spent her career working in service of public education and youth development. In her role as CEO of Oakland Promise, a cradle-to-career nonprofit, she works to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. She was elected to the Alameda Unified School District School Board in 2018 and currently serves as president, has served on her local PTA, was a member of the Alameda Free Library Foundation, and served on the district’s Advisory Committees for Women, Education, and Early Childhood. Bonta is married to current state Attorney General Rob Bonta, who vacated this AD-18 seat in March.
Her local roles and personal connections have allowed her to engage directly with elected officials across the state government, building relationships that would benefit her in Sacramento as she pursues a platform focused on educational equity, reproductive and health justice, and worker protections. Bonta’s platform demonstrates her strong understanding of the intersections of injustice and the importance of disrupting systemic practices to create more equity across our public systems, particularly in response to the unequal economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has stated a commitment to coalition-building in the legislature, and frames the knowledge she’s gained in her nonprofit and public career as transferable to the work of building meaningful legislation.
It has been reported that Mia Bonta has benefited from her husband’s political access, as well. When he was an assemblymember, Rob Bonta made contributions from his campaign accounts to, and fundraised on behalf of, nonprofit organizations led by her. These organizations included Literacy Lab and Oakland Promise. These donations were legal, and Mia Bonta has indicated that she is committed to transparency, but they raised some ethical concerns. Similarly, both Rob and Mia Bonta have received significant political contributions from card rooms and non-tribal casinos this year, indicating a donor base that is interested in the benefits of investing in both of them as a sports-wagering initiative recently qualified for the 2022 ballot.
Mia Bonta has raised $552,000, and has pledged to refuse fossil fuel and police money in her campaign. She has been endorsed by many progressive organizations and leaders, including the California Democratic Party, the California Black Legislative Caucus, the California Legislative Latino Caucus, Black Women for Political Action, NAACP, SEIU California, Senator Alex Padilla, Representative Barbara Lee, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Tao, and BART Director Lateefah Simon.