Every day, dozens of CFT members finish their shift, pivot, and
begin a second job as an elected official. They bring passion,
creativity and a commitment to public service. When Juan Orozco
isn’t working with teens in the Mendocino County Office of
Education, the Local 4345 member is serving as mayor of the
county hub. Pacifica voters have elected and re-elected school
bus driver Mike O’Neill to public office for almost a
For years, Paul da Silva, a biology teacher at the College of
Marin and a member of United Professors of Marin,
Local 1610, wondered about the lack of teachers on the
college’s Board of Trustees and tried to talk retiring professors
into running. No one took him up on it.
So when he decided in the summer of 2019 that he would retire, he
concluded, to paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi, he’d have to be the
candidate he wished to see in the world.
Jeanie Wallace had considered running for office before. As a union rep for the Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers and the chair of the local Democratic Party Central Committee, she knew how hard it could be to find candidates for the school board. But she thought she was too busy, and planned to do it when she retired.
Nichols served three terms on the board of the Pajaro Valley
Unified School District while she was a teacher in neighboring
Santa Cruz. She moved out of the Pajaro district in 2012 and into
Santa Cruz County, where she ran for the County Board of
Education in her fourth winning election bid.