After a tight race, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond has been elected as California superintendent of public instruction.
On election night, Thurmond had 48.6 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Marshall Tuck, had gained 51.4 percent of the vote. According to a press release published Saturday, Thurmond overcame his opponent and received the 86,000 votes needed to win the election.
“I want to thank the voters of California for electing me to serve the 6 million students of California,” Thurmond said in the press release. “I ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction to deliver to all Californians the promise that public education delivered to me – that all students, no matter their background and no matter their challenges can succeed with a great public education.”
Thurmond’s campaign platforms include transparency for funding, ensuring accountability for charter schools and spearheading the “fight” against the Trump administration’s attempts to “privatize our public education system,” according to his campaign site.
Tuck had similar stances toward closing the achievement gap and prioritizing school funding. Tuck’s campaign also focused on investing in teachers and principals, fully funding classrooms and universal pre-K, according to his website.
As the California state superintendent, Thurmond will act as the state’s chief of public schools and provide policy direction to local school districts as well as work with the educational community to improve academic performance. Thurmond will also be the head of the California Department of Education and will carry out policies set by the California Board of Education.
Among his endorsements was recently re-elected Councilmember Kate Harrison.
“(Thurmond) is a stalwart defender of public education,” Harrison said in an email. “As a social worker, he has a background working with children that will prove invaluable. As a legislator, he has focused on ensuring public education funding and quality.”
Harrison said she is “delighted” with Thurmond’s election. Harrison added that she worked with Thurmond’s first state Assembly race and came to know Thurmond as someone with “integrity” and that he had a “devotion to the public good.”
ASUC External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay said in an email that Thurmond’s election is a “great moment” for California considering Thurmond’s platform focuses on prioritizing public school funding, closing the achievement gap and school safety. Khalfay added that Thurmond’s “long-standing commitment” to students will help public schools and that she is “excited” to work with him in the future.
“We have been lucky here in Berkeley to be represented by (Thurmond),” said District 7 Councilmember-elect Rigel Robinson. “This election was a referendum for the most pressing needs of public schools and interest of big money.”