Assemblyman Tony Thurmond Enters State Superintendent For Public Instruction Race as a Trump Foe

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By Joy Resmovits, L.A. Times

State Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) will run for state superintendent of public instruction.

He announced his candidacy in a statement last week that focused on resisting the Trump administration’s education plans.

“Fighting for education starts with opposing the efforts by President Trump and Betsy DeVos to defund our public schools,” Thurmond said in the statement, referring to Trump’s budget blueprint. “I will fight the Trump Agenda to gut our public schools at every step.”

The statement said he had already scored the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)

Thurmond could not be reached immediately for further comment.

So far, the only other candidate is Marshall Tuck, a charter school ally who lost a bid for the position in 2014. The primary is in June 2018.

Like Tuck, Thurmond said he wants to make California’s schools “among the greatest in the nation.”

The position has little direct control over California’s schools. Current State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson also has used the post’s bully pulpit recently to present California’s schools as a leader in the resistance to Trump.

Thurmond was elected to the Assembly in 2014.

Business groups poured a lot of money into his election through independent expenditures, with the assumption he’d be more moderate than his opponent. But he’s been a reliable liberal vote.

He carried a bill to ban smokeless tobacco at ballparks, and is now proposing legislation that would tax the contractors to California’s prisons in order to fund early childhood education programs.

Thurmond previously served on the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board.

Staff writer Melanie Mason contributed reporting from Sacramento.

 

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