In a race between two Democrats, Tony Thurmond beat Elizabeth Echols with 54 percent of the vote for the 15th District of the California Assembly.
District 15 includes 11 cities between the southern edges of Oakland and the northern border of Hercules.
The victory is considered an “upset” by some due to the political backing Echols received from Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, his wife, State Senator Loni Hancock and termed-out District 15 Assemblymember Nancy Skinner.
This is the first time in years that a candidate had won the seat without support from Bates.
Thurmond gives credit for his victory to the hard work of his supporters.
“Our win is a testament to our volunteers who walked the precincts every single day and stayed focused,” Thurmond said. “I didn’t get the sense that being in the precincts every day was happening for the other campaign.”
Thurmond’s platform emphasized climate change issues, combating violent crime, creating jobs, and fostering youth development. He has been outspoken and in nurses’ picket lines backing efforts to save Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo.
His first plan of action in Sacramento is to push for youth recidivism and truancy reduction. Schools lose government funding when students are absent; less funding means less supplies and equipment.
Thurmond sees criminal justice reform and truancy reform as interrelated issues. “When young children miss school, their learning suffers, which puts them at risk of dropping out of school and ending up in the criminal justice system.”