This, friends, is a good elected official. Tony Thurmond commutes hours to Sacramento every day he works — he keeps his colleagues close and his community closer.
Two years in the California State Assembly have already presented Thurmond with issues that our future representatives need to address.
In the past year, Thurmond created a task force to look into hospital closings throughout the state. This issue is particularly salient in light of the recently announced impending closure of Berkeley’s very own Alta Bates Summit Medical Center.
Thurmond has worked to pass legislation that would require nonprofits such as Sutter Health to report every employee who makes more than $250,000 annually — an important prospect for creating a more equitable, transparent world.
Thurmond also stands committed to fighting for increased public education funding. State funding for the UC stands at near-record lows, beaten only by levels during the worst parts of the 2008 recession. As campuses continue to hike enrollment and cut student services, state disinvestment is absolutely unacceptable — particularly when not just the UC but the California State University and community college systems are all suffering.
Addressing this means fighting to reform Proposition 13, which severely reduced property taxes and stifled education funding, as Thurmond has promised to do. It also means fighting to make higher education more accessible. During his term as a state Assembly member, Thurmond drove a bill that provided greater scholarship funding for foster care youths to attend college. He has essentially ensured that anybody in the foster care system who has the ability to pursue higher education won’t be held back by insufficient funds.
The fact that he has accomplished so much in just one term as a state Assembly member makes us believe that he’s the right person for the job.
Thurmond also has a strong background in one of the Bay Area’s most pressing concerns: housing. In his last term, Thurmond co-authored a bill that would expand low-income housing — something that must be done on a state level after the state stopped redevelopment funding from reaching cities. Thurmond’s commitment to helping cities in his district combat a regional housing crisis through specific legislation is essential.
His opponent, Claire Chiara — a Republican UC Berkeley student and former staff member of The Daily Californian — simply does not compare on policy, commitment or experience.
We always appreciate when students involve themselves in the political process and understand her concern about ensuring that constituents have multiple options. But when Chiara stipulates that Assembly District 15 constituents deserve a chance to question their representatives, she should note that Thurmond is the answer to those questions.
We’re excited that he’s poised to keep proving that.