The California Federation of Teachers congratulates Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond on their strong performances in the June 5 primary.

The good showing by both candidates follows a hard-fought primary election, during which a small number of billionaires and other deep-pocketed donors spent an unprecedented $30.8 million in an attempt to influence voters. Teachers and school workers say they are ready to go the extra mile in the coming months to help elect Newsom as California’s next Governor and Thurmond as the next State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“Gavin Newsom presents a clear progressive vision for our state anchored by fully funded and supported public schools,” says CFT President Josh President. “Voters chose Newsom as their clear favorite because he has articulated a willingness to continue local control of our schools, hold charter schools accountable, and identify further sources of stable revenue to fund public education and vital social services.”

“Tony Thurmond has demonstrated time and again that he is a champion of public education,” says Josh Pechthalt. “Voters support Thurmond because they know he understands firsthand the power and promise of public education and that he has the talent and vision to lead our schools for years to come.”

According to Capital and Main, a small handful of billionaires and other deep-pocketed charter school backers spent an unprecedented $22.3 million in the primary to elect Antonio Villaraigosa Governor of California, and an additional $8.5 million to elect Marshall Tuck as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The high spending to support Villaraigosa was called “undoubtably the largest independent expenditure in the history of California Politics (LA Magazine) by veteran campaign advisor Gary South.

“Antonio Villaraigosa’s failure to make it to the November election is a stinging rebuke of the overspending by a small number of billionaires intent on dismantling our public education system,” says CFT President Josh Pechthalt. “Californians rightly rejected their cynical attempts to manipulate the electorate. Instead, voters chose overwhelmingly to support Gavin Newsom, a candidate who has always stood with our public schools.”

The teachers and school workers, however, are also deeply concerned about the millions of dollars spent by a handful of billionaires in support of Marshall Tuck, who will now face Tony Thurmond in the election in November for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“They failed at getting their candidate into the November election for Governor, but we expect them to spend even more in support of Marshall Tuck,” continues Josh Pechthalt. “Every voter in California should be concerned about the corrosive impact this level of spending by just a few people has on our politics, and the potential harm it does to our public schools.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information is available at www.cft.org.

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