With big-name people like Gavin Newsom and Antonio Villariagosa declared running for California governor in the 2018 election, Delaine Eastin may seem like an unlikely candidate to capture a spot on the final ballot. But she makes up for lower name recognition with both passion and enthusiasm for issues that ignite the progressive fervor of many California Democrats. And it’s not like Eastin is an unknown—she held statewide office as Superintendent of Public Instruction from 1994 to 2002. Prior to that she was city council member for Union City, and a four-term Assembly Member. She has also worked as a teacher and in business for Pacific Bell.
Ms. Eastin spoke at the September 20 meeting of the American River Democrats, stating right off the bat that we are in crisis right now, not just with a “knucklehead” as president, but from lack of participation in civil society. We are stronger together, she said, as a democratic government. The budgets our representatives create are statements of our values; how we treat the people who need us is a moral test we are failing. California was once fifth in the US in per-pupil spending for schools; now we are near the bottom. Since the first Jerry Brown administration (1975-1983) California has built six college campuses, and 23 prisons.
Eastin says she will fight for the big things—education, universal healthcare, or Medicare for all, affordable housing. She is the only candidate who is in favor of banning fracking in the state. She says she has the courage, vision, and heart to fight for equality, justice, peace, and hope. She is against “the best government money can buy” and will not take any money from big oil, big tobacco, or other corporate interests, as some of her rivals for the nomination do. She says she is prepared to stand up to bullies, the rich, and the powerful. California is full of “dreamers,” who built this amazing state—not just the ones who need our protection from the current Trump administration, who is ending the DACA program.
As a city council member, she fought for issues like recycling, and served on the library commission. As an Assembly Member, she authored bills to improve schools, improve transportation systems, crack down on unlicensed contractors, increase use of recycled materials, such as “white goods”—old appliances filling landfills. Realizing the tobacco taxes only covered cigarettes, she fought to expand it to other forms—cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.—to help fund libraries. She was named “Rookie of the Year” by the California Journal, a non-partisan analytical journal that reports on the State Legislature, and “Legislator of the Year” awards several times from the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges, the California School Boards Association, and the California Media Library Educators Association.
Her experience as chair of the Assembly Education Committee led to her later election as Superintendent of Public Instruction, where she filed a lawsuit to stop the state from diverting funds away from education, and reducing class size in public schools. She worked for school accountability and higher standards, decreasing waste in the system, and bringing better technology to the classroom. She also worked for universal pre-school, and after serving two terms, continues to be an advocate for education, serving on several boards for education advocacy in California.
Her goals are for an economy that works for everyone, including universal pre-school availability, small class size, and increasing the number of nurses and counselors in schools—California is last in the U.S. in those crucial positions. She wants to address the housing crisis in the state—we have the highest number of grown children living with their parents, and homeless people overall. She wants more affordable housing located near transportation hubs to help people get to work or school. She is for universal health care (she supports SB 562), fighting climate change, improving our infrastructure, and protecting the rights of those under attack—the disabled, immigrants, LGBTQ, people of color, and California Dreamers. She seeks a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. She asks the question: Did we do as much for the next generation as was done for us?
To learn more about Delaine Eastin, join her campaign, or donate, visit DelaineForGovernor.com.