California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond speaks at the State Capitol against California school districts’ parental notification policy for transgender students in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 29, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced he’s running for governor of California Sept. 26.
Mr. Thurmond, a Democrat, said he seeks to address income inequality, ensure schools are better funded, and speed up the state’s transition to renewable energy.
“Our campaign isn’t about any one person. It’s about people who are struggling across our state,” he said in a video announcing his campaign. “California should be a place where everyone has a chance to succeed.”
In the video, Mr. Thurmond described his difficult upbringing, saying “we lived in poverty, relying on food stamps, government cheese—a lot of it—and public assistance to survive.”
Later in life, he said, he worked multiple jobs to pay his way through Temple University, located in Philadelphia.
“Those years taught me the value and dignity of hard work, but it also helped me understand how hard it is for workers, not just to get by, but to get ahead,” Mr. Thurmond said.
According to Mr. Thurmond in the video, he later received dual master’s degrees in law and social policy and social work from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and became a social worker.
Mr. Thurmond was a member of the Richmond City Council from 2005 to 2008 and the West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education from 2008 to 2012. He served in the state Assembly from 2014 to 2018 before being elected to the first of two terms as state superintendent of public instruction.
He joins Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis and former Controller Betty Yee as candidates for the 2026 race to succeed Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have termed out.
California State Superintendent of Schools Tony Thurmond holds the book "Red: A Crayon's Story" during a news conference at Nystrom Elementary School in Richmond, Calif., on May 17, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
As state superintendent, Mr. Thurmond has recently become vocal in several debates over parental rights and LGBT content in schools.
In July, he opposed the Chino Valley Unified School District’s policy that requires school staff to notify parents if their child changes their pronouns or gender identity.
In August, Attorney General Rob Bonta sued Chino Valley Unified over the policy, saying it discriminated against LGBT students. A federal judge last month issued a temporary restraining order for the policy while the litigation takes place.
Additionally, Mr. Thurmond has been showing support for Assembly Bill 1078, a bill now signed into law by the governor to ban school boards from rejecting textbooks that contain critical race theory or gender ideology.