In October, CTA State Council of Education voted to recommend candidates for key statewide offices in the 2018 election, including governor and state superintendent of public instruction (SPI). This year all offices are up for election, including state Senate, Assembly and local school board seats.
“Who wins these races and their views on public education will have a direct impact on students and educators,” says CTA President Eric Heins. “To fight the attacks on public education that are coming from multiple fronts, we need leaders, we need champions, and we need allies.”
California’s top two primary system applies to statewide constitutional, legislative and congressional races. The top two vote-getters advance to face off in the general election. In the SPI race only, a candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary wins office outright.
CTA teams interviewed and evaluated candidates for each office over a two-day period in a democratic and member-driven process (see sidebar, page 45). In the months ahead, the Educator will present more information about CTA-recommended candidates and their platforms.
Gavin Newsom for Governor
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has long been a strong supporter of public schools, colleges, students and educators. He shares the core values of CTA members and educators across the Golden State who believe in the mission of providing a quality, well-rounded education to all students. Every student deserves the same opportunity to achieve success regardless of ZIP code, background, where they come from or who they love. Newsom supported CTA-backed state propositions that increased the state income tax on the wealthy to generate billions for public education.
Newsom’s top priorities are education, economic development, protecting the environment, and social justice. Educators support his vision of creating more full-service community public schools. Like CTA, Newsom opposes the privatization of public education and the proliferation of charters, especially those run by private management companies that want to profit off our kids. He considers community colleges “the backbone of our economy” and supports two years of free community college tuition to help drive our economy, reduce student debt, and create better pathways to quality jobs.
Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction
As a state Assembly member, school board trustee and city councilman, Tony Thurmond has served in elected office for more than 12 years. As a social worker, he is also a respected leader of nonprofits for youth and a champion of disadvantaged students. At every step, he has kept California’s kids as his top priority.
He passed legislation to provide millions of dollars to school districts to keep kids in school and out of the criminal justice system. He’s fought for money to ensure that California youth in foster care can go to college. He is an advocate for affordable housing for teachers and other incentives to attract and retain quality educators. He is fighting to shift $450 million from our criminal justice system to early education and after-school programs. He’s working to expand school-based health, mental health and social service programs, and support students who are homeless or hungry, or have experienced trauma.
Your questions answered: Have a question for or want to know more about Tony Thurmond? We’ll ask for you when we interview him for an upcoming issue. Let us know at .
Ed Hernandez for Lieutenant Governor
State Sen. Ed Hernandez has a proven track record in both the California Assembly and Senate of supporting students, educators and public education. The first in his family to graduate from college, he believes an education is the greatest equalizer in our society, and is an advocate for reinvesting in our pre-K–12 public schools, community colleges and public universities. He unequivocally supports increased accountability and transparency in California’s charter schools.
Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner
State Sen. Ricardo Lara has been a steadfast partner and advocate for students and educators. In 2016, CTA worked in partnership with Lara to pass Proposition 58 to repeal bilingual education restrictions in California public schools.
He is the only declared and viable candidate for insurance commissioner — the office that would work most closely on regulating insurance companies and health plans — and is dedicated to a thoughtful, inclusive conversation on how to achieve universal health care and ensure student health.
Xavier Becerra for Attorney General
Attorney General Xavier Becerra has a long-standing commitment to, and passion for, students, educators and families across California.
He became California’s attorney general in January 2017 after more than two decades of service in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he was elected to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Becerra was the first Latino to serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, fighting for a fairer tax code and trade laws, and working to protect Social Security and Medicare.
He believes in protecting the right of educators and all workers to come together to negotiate proper learning and working conditions. He also believes California’s charter schools must be held to the same accountability and transparency stanards as traditional public schools.
Fiona Ma for State Treasurer
Current Board of Equalization member Fiona Ma is the only declared and viable candidate for the office of state treasurer. She is a lifelong champion for public education and has experience on financial, budget and investment issues that make her highly qualified for this position. She supports a defined-benefit retirement system for all educators, and as state treasurer will sit on both the CalSTRS and CalPERS boards.
Connie Conway for Board of Equalization District 1
Former Assembly member and Republican minority leader Connie Conway believes in working closely with all community stakeholders. During the interview, she committed to talking through education issues before making recommendations or decisions on the Board of Equalization.
Board of Equalization Districts 2 and 4
CTA’s team met with two candidates for District 2: state Sen. Cathleen Galgiani and San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen. Both demonstrated a core understanding of education and tax issues, and both have worked with CTA. The member-driven process led to a neutral recommendation in the primary race. CTA made no recommendation for Board of Equalization District 4.
CTA’s Recommendation Process
CTA interviews teams, comprising 30 CTA leaders and members from throughout the state, interview candidates and evaluate them on a variety of criteria, including:
- Their position on and vision for K-12, community college and higher education issues.
- Their historical support for public education, students and educators, including education funding, budget stability, safe schools and campuses for all students, collective bargaining, educator professional rights, charter school accountability, and equal access to higher education.
- Their viability for success in the office that they are seeking. After the interviews, teams make their recommendations, and the CTA Board approves to send forth to State Council (800 delegates), who then debate and make final recommendations.