It may seem like the dust from the last campaign has barely settled, but it’s already time for California’s Primary Election on June 7. The CFT has made a number of key endorsements and is working with labor and community partners to elect champions for public education and working people.
About 200 CFT members from around the state converged at San Francisco’s Hyatt Regency for a Leadership Conference — the first time they’d been able to join together for such an event since the state shut down for COVID on March 13, 2020.
Seeming excited to see one another in person, attendees went to workshops, many dealing with racial and social justice issues, and heard from speakers including JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) Organizer Cynthia Eaton, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and AFT President Randi Weingarten.
With the June 7 Statewide Primary Election fast approaching, the 2022 election season is fully underway. CFT has been preparing by conducting candidate interviews for the state’s top offices and legislative districts around the state. All statewide constitutional offices will be on the ballot, and CFT has endorsed a candidate for each seat.
Members from classified locals across the state recently met in Glendale to swap organizing tips, celebrate victories, and strengthen political skills.
Participants engaged enthusiastically from Friday, October 18, when Council of Classified Employees President Carl Williams welcomed leaders to his first President’s Collaboration, to that Sunday morning, when Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond rallied the troops for coming electoral fights.
Updated November 19, 2018
Following a hard fought campaign, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond has won the election to be California’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Across the state, teachers and school workers celebrated Thurmond’s election as a resounding call by voters to protect public education. Fighting the headwinds of unprecedented spending by a handful of billionaires and mega-donors in support of Marshall Tuck, Thurmond ran a campaign based on investing in all public schools and supporting all students.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has a vision consistent with educators, according to CFT President Joshua Pechthalt.
“He’s going to fight for public education” Pechthalt said. “He’s not going to let the ‘deformers’ have their way.”
On an election day when much of the country swung to the right, California solidified its standing as the progressive bulwark of the nation. Every single statewide office went to the CFT-endorsed candidate. And the main projectile launched by anti-union forces at public education — the billionaire-backed Marshall Tuck campaign for state superintendent of public instruction — went down to defeat.
By Joshua Pechthalt, CFT President
The CFT’s priorities in the November 4 General Election are straightforward: Reelect Tom Torlakson Superintendent of Public Instruction, elect Betty Yee for State Controller and pass Propositions 45 and 47.
In the remaining weeks before the election, we need all of our members to get involved with their local unions and their central labor councils. We have to approach this election as if the future of public education depends on it, because it does.
Her voice swelling with hometown pride, elementary school teacher Melinda Dart says, “Tom Torlakson was a student in our Daly City schools — and he went on to become a teacher and state superintendent of all schools.”
During his early years, Torlakson’s mother worked as a school secretary and his father as a welder. After high school, Torlakson attended San Mateo Community College before entering the Merchant Marine and serving in Vietnam. Upon his return, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in education and a teaching credential at UC Berkeley.
Over the past year CFT was a proud participant in developing the recommendations of Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s Educational Excellence Task Force and we applaud the results of this lengthy process.