California mayor leads Fil-Am winners in US polls

by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Nov 08 2012 10:55 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2012 07:19 PM

CALIFORNIA, USA (UPDATE) - Latest census data show that Filipinos are the second largest Asian group in America, with 3.4 million people. With this surge in population, there is also an increased desire for political empowerment.

All throughout the country, Filipinos made sure their presence was felt in the recent election. A record-high 36 Filipinos ran for local and national polls.

For the fifth time, Jose Esteves became successful in his bid to become mayor of Milpitas.

The 66-year-old Filipino Republican from Dagupan swept the votes, taking 72 percent against challenger Rob Means. 

"I have a good record, good accomplishments.  They believe in my character.  I have integrity.  I make tough decisions.  I'm not supported by interest groups.  In other words, they know I serve them only," he said.

Esteves was not the only Filipino-American who took a chance in the recent election.

Incumbent Alameda Vice-Mayor Rob Bonta is poised to make history in California, as the first Filipino to hold a state assembly seat.

Latest unofficial results show that Bonta, a Democrat,  is leading in a tight race -- 50.8 percent against Abel Guillen.

Democrats Jennifer Ong and Chris Mateo both lost their bids for California assembly.

On the national scene, Democrat Robert Scott -- the first Filipino to serve as a voting member of Congress -- was re-elected to an 11th term as Virginia's representative.

Unofficial results show Scott leading by 80 percent against rival Dean Longo.

Dr. Marisha Agana, the controversial Pinay who likened Obama to Hitler, lost her bid to become a US representative in Ohio.

Esteves said it doesn't necessarily mean that Filipinos vote for fellow Filipinos.

"I believe Filipinos are intelligent voters.  If you are qualified, they will vote.  If you are not, they will not.  They don't just vote because you're a fellow Filipino," he said.

Esteves said a loss in politics should not mean an end to service.

"Running for office should be a goal.  The goal should be serving the people," he explained. - ANC, Prime Time, November 8, 2012