Tony Thurmond is an educator, public school parent, and state legislator, who has served the people of California for ten years in elected office.  He is a respected leader of nonprofits for youth with a dozen years of experience in education.  At every step, Tony has kept California's kids as his top priority. He knows how to get things done and get results.

Tony’s mother was an immigrant from Panama who came to San Jose, California, to be a teacher.  Tony’s father was a soldier who didn’t return to his family after the Vietnam War.  Tony met him for the first time when he was an adult.  After Tony’s mother died when he was 6, Tony and his brother were raised by a cousin who they had never met until they showed up on her doorstep.

Tony’s family struggled, and relied on public assistance programs to get out of poverty, but this amazing woman who raised him made sure Tony got a great public school education.  Tony’s education allowed him to attend Temple University, where he became student body president, and inspired him to become a 20-year social worker, spend 12 years working in schools, and eventually serve on his city council, school board, and now in the California State Assembly.

Tony is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Jewish Caucus.  Tony serves on the Assembly Education, Health, and Human Services Committees.  He chairs the Assembly Labor Committee and the Assembly Select Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education.  

Funding Quality Education for All Students 

Tony has kept education as his top priority in the state legislature.  Since his election in 2014, Tony has:

  • Passed legislation moving millions of dollars from prisons to school districts to keep kids in school and out of the criminal justice system
  • Helped districts receive gun violence prevention training to keep students safe
  • Banned for-profit charter schools in California
  • Increased funding for early education, bilingual education, and career technical training
  • Reduced bureaucracy and increased access to the free lunch program for approximately 400,000 students
  • Passed legislation to give voting rights to student members on school boards
  • Facilitated statewide roundtables to address combating hate in the classroom and LGBTQ bullying

Today, he is continuing his quest for better, more equitable public education by:

  • Working to improve vocational job training education with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math
  • Fighting to provide more money for preschool and afterschool programs by taxing the private prison industry
  • Working to expand school based health, mental health, and social service programs to remove the barriers that impede our students’ learning – especially those who are homeless, hungry, or who have experienced trauma
  • Reducing our statewide teacher shortage by fighting to provide teacher housing and other incentives that will allow us to attract and retain more teachers
  • Advocating for funding to make California #1 in the nation in per pupil spending

Fighting for Local Public Schools

Prior to the State Assembly, Tony served from 2008-2012 on the West Contra Costa School Board, where he coordinated a plan to keep schools open during the 2008 recession.

Tony helped restore fiscal solvency and local control to the School Board, while supporting campaigns to put millions of dollars toward preserving counseling, after-school, music, and athletic programs.  Under Tony’s leadership, the School Board rebuilt dozens of schools to provide state-of-the-art student learning facilities.

Tony funded programs to help students learn about and apply to top universities.  He also led efforts to expand drug and alcohol treatment services for youth, and to bring nutrition and wellness programs to schools.  Additionally, Tony spearheaded a campaign that reduced school suspensions by 27%.

A Career Committed to Youth

Tony received dual master's degrees in Law and Social Policy and Social Work (MSW) from Bryn Mawr College and began a career dedicated to service.  Much of his social service work focused on improving the services provided to foster youth and directing programs that provide job training to at-risk youth in the East Bay area.  He also led programs to provide help for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Tony has 12 years of experience in education, teaching life skills classes, after-school programs, and career training.

Tony served on the Richmond City Council from 2005-2008.  While on the council he served as Liaison to Richmond’s Youth Commission and Workforce Investment Board and the Council Liaison to the West Contra Costa Unified School District.  He was chair of Richmond's 2005 Summer Youth Program which employed 200 local teens.

In recognition of his social service leadership, Thurmond is a Fellow in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship program.

Tony lives in Richmond with his two daughters who attend local public schools.  They are his inspiration and a constant reminder about the promise of our neighborhood schools and the strong future that every child deserves.