By ART GABOT MADLAING
VALLEJO, California (PhilAmPress) – Former police officer and City Councilman Bob Sampayan has assumed as the first Filipino-American mayor of Vallejo in the San Francisco Bay Area.This after Mayor Sampayan took his oath last January 3 at the City Council Chambers of the City Hall at 555 Santa Clara Street, Vallejo. He will serve as mayor until January 2021.
Mayor Sampayan is a grandson of the late Carlos Sampayan Bulosan, famous writer, essayist and author of the classic book “America is in the Heart” and many other famous works like the essay “Freedom from Want” which was commissioned by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt,” the short story “The Laughter of My Father,” and the poem “I Want the Wide American Earth” which was picked as theme of the Asia Pacific Islanders Heritage Month celebration led US President Barack Obama.Mayor Sampayan took his oath in the presence of his wife Ramona and their children and members of the diverse population of Vallejo. The event was jampacked and overflowing with standing attendees up to the door and lobby of the City Council Chambers.The historic oath-taking of Mayor Sampayan was also attended and witnessed by his octogenarian aunt Marrieta Duyanen Sampayan Rosario who came all the way from San Jose, California together with many nieces, nephews and other relatives. Mayor Sampayan personally acknowledged the presence of his relatives who came from various cities in Northern California during his speech.“Thank you to all that braved last night’s storm to come to my swearing in,” he said later. “It was a humbling occasion and seeing so many supporters was touching.”“Thank you to my relatives that came up from Salinas, Stockton, Manteca and San Jose to be part of the ceremony. Also, thank you for all the comments and well wishes that you’ve sent. I will forever be thankful to all of you. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work! Again, thank you all,” he said.Before the oath-taking, commendations from many organizations and individuals were presented to outgoing Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis. Commendation from the Solano County Fil-Am Chamber of Commerce was shared by President Hermie Sunga. Another commendation from the Filipino Community of Solano County was shared by President Norma Placido.The key to the City of Vallejo was presented to Mayor Sampayan by outgoing Vallejo Mayor Osby Davis.Other highlights of the historic event were the oath-taking of the newly elected council members, namely, Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Hermie Sunga and Robert H. McConnel who will be working together with the incumbent council members Jesus “Jess” Malgapo, Katy Miessner and Pippin Dew-Costa.Robert H. McConnell was unanimously voted by the new set of council members to serve as Vallejo Vice Mayor from January 4, 2017 to January 9, 2018. Selection of Council Seating for the new set of council members was also completed.It is the first time in the history of Vallejo that a FilAm, Bob Sampayan, will be serving as mayor with majority of council members also FilAms, namely, Rozzana Verder-Aliga, Hermie Sunga and Jesus “Jess” Malgapo.“I personally congratulate Bob Sampayan as the first Fil-Am Mayor of Vallejo,” said outgoing Vice Mayor Rozzana Verder-Aliga, who was newly reelected Vallejo council member.“Bob is the first Vallejo police officer to be elected Mayor of Vallejo. I’m optimistic that he will do amazing job as the new mayor of Vallejo,” echoed a retired police officer during the First Community Forum presided by Mayor Sampayan.In his remarks, Mayor Sampayan said that it requires listening, hard work and dedication with the involvement of every citizen of Vallejo to realize his vision and mission as the new Mayor of Vallejo.“Celebrate who we are. Together we can do things,” Mayor Sampayan said.
Born in Virginia, Sampayan grew up in Salinas and in Santa Clara where he finished college. He worked as a policeman in Palo Alto and later joined the Vallejo police force.After working for public safety for more than 34 years, Sampayan ran for the City Council and won on platforms such as safer schools and economic revitalization of the city. (PhilAmPress)