California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond released a statement Monday endorsing the city of Berkeley’s current mayor, Jesse Arreguín, for reelection in 2020.
Thurmond is the most recent of Arreguín’s endorsers. Those that have publicly endorsed Arreguín include State Assemblymember Buffy Wicks and Berkeley City Councilmembers Ben Bartlett, Kate Harrison, Sophie Hahn and Rigel Robinson.
“Today, more than ever, with Donald Trump in Washington and our values under constant assault, we need to lift up our most inspiring, progressive local leaders like Jesse Arreguín who are making the change we need, one block and one neighborhood at a time,” Thurmond said in the statement.
As State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Thurmond oversees public education policy in the state of California. Education is “at the core” of Thurmond’s legislative record, according to his biography on the California Department of Education website. Thurmond has authored legislation that expanded the free lunch program, improved school conditions for LGBTQ+ youth and taxed private prisons to fund early education and after-school programs.
Thurmond worked closely with Arreguín during his time as a West Contra Costa Unified School District board member, as a Richmond City Council member and as Berkeley’s representative in the State Assembly.
Thurmond said in the statement that Arreguín has helped build affordable housing for the homeless population and educators. Thurmond also noted Arreguín’s commitment to aiding those in pursuit of an education with his launch of the Berkeley Promise initiative — a scholarship and mentorship program for low-income and first-generation college students.
“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Tony,” Arreguín said. “He’s a lifelong advocate of education. We want to make sure our schools can be the best they can be and that we are addressing the issue of equity. The issue of equity is a high priority for us.”