by Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau | 11/08/2012 4:17 PM
MILPITAS, Calif. - Latest Census data show that Filipinos are the second largest Asian group in America with 3.4 million. 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, with a record high of at least 36 Filipinos who 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% 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," Esteves 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.
Unofficial results show that Bonta, a Democrat, is leading in a tight race, 50.8% 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.
|Dr. Marisha Agana|
Unofficial results show Scott leading by 80% 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 says 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 says 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 said.