Who am I?

As a former city council member and school board member, lifelong youth mentor and current Senior Director at the Lincoln Child Center, I have dedicated my life to public service, helping those who need it most – especially urban youth. I create and oversee youth education programs for truancy prevention, parenting education, school-based mental health services and support services for foster youth and families.

My official bio is below, and please learn more at www.TonyThurmond.com:

As a non-profit leader, school board member, city councilmember and mentor, Tony has been making real progress on the big issues facing Californians today – the economy, education, crime and safety and the environment.

Tony has been uniting people in support of youth and families for more than 20 years. Now Tony is ready to put his skills and experience to work in Sacramento as our new Assembly Member for District 15.

“To get it right, we need to give our youth a California as good as its promise,” says Tony. “To get there, we need to do the real work to improve our schools, reduce dropout rates, create sustainable jobs that preserve our environment and invest in job training opportunities to build a 21st-century workforce.”

Tony has helped build our district’s economy from the ground up, creating innovative job training and workforce housing programs and creating sustainable jobs for California youth. His current project, CEO Youth, is succeeding in improving school attendance and reducing dropout rates. Tony has been at the forefront of combating gang and gun violence in his community in Richmond, and actively involved in regional crime and safety efforts along the I-80 corridor.

Tony knows that jobs, education and crime are interrelated challenges. And he is the only candidate with deep experience in creating proven, integrated solutions.

Tony served on the Richmond City Council from 2005-2008. He served as Council Liaison to Richmond’s Youth Commission and Workforce Investment Board and the Council Liaison to the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Tony was also a member of the California League of Cities Environmental Policy Committee and the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee. He was a Fellow in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Children and Family Fellowship program.

Tony also served on the West Contra Costa County School Board from 2008-2012, at which point he focused on his work with CEO Youth at the Lincoln Child Center and mentoring youth in the community. Tony earned a Master of Social Work from Bryn Mawr College and currently lives in Richmond with his two young daughters.

Why am I running?

I am running for Assembly because I believe that California can do better—in public education, job creation, worker protections, crime prevention and healthcare accessibility and affordability. If I am elected, I plan to continue my work of improving our schools, reducing dropout rates, providing youth with alternatives to crime and drugs, promoting family wellness and access to affordable healthcare, supporting the rights of California’s teachers and public employees and creating sustainable jobs and job-training programs to give youth real opportunities to succeed in a 21st century workforce.

I also fought to ensure that prevailing wages were paid while crucial investments were made in our infrastructure. As a Member of the Assembly, I plan to prioritize these important investments in our state’s future – from better schools to affordable college and transportation infrastructure.

More than anything, I am running for Assembly to make California a better place for our kids. Throughout my career – as a candidate for Assembly, a member of the Richmond City Council, and a West Contra Costa School Board member, I have made education and the health of our children and families top priorities. We need to ensure California’s schools get back to being the best in the country. That’s why I believe we need to give our children a California as good as its promise.

My Goals

Throughout my career in public service, I have run successful afterschool programs to mentor youth in Oakland, Philadelphia and Richmond—working closely with schools that have some of the highest dropout rates in the country. I saw, firsthand, just how big a difference these programs can make in students’ lives. When our kids are actively involved in their education, have access to internships and afterschool programs and have the support of their families and communities, they are less likely to drop out and more likely to succeed. I led efforts in our district that yielded a 27% decline in school suspensions, and there are other successful programs that I’ve led that could be modeled in other school districts throughout the State. We need to ensure that all California kids have an important support system available to them.

As a member of the Assembly, I plan to focus on:

1) Creating family-sustaining jobs and job training programs—to provide living wages for our working families, strengthen our middle class and to end the joblessness and hopelessness that result in violence in our communities;

2) Ensuring that every Californian has access to affordable health care, mental health programs and resources, and that our seniors have access to affordable medication and in-home care if needed;

3) Ensuring our children have access to the best education, affordable college and higher education and professional training so that they acquire the hard skills it takes to be successful adults

My DFA Values

I’m the only candidate in this race that has been organizing thousands of community members, elected officials, policy experts and thought leaders around the most critical issues in our district through a series of in-person town halls for the past year. Topics have included engaging kids in school, providing much-needed mental health programs and resources, reducing crime and street violence, creating jobs and addressing economic inequality in our district – and many more.

When it comes to uniting our community around values of social justice, income disparity and equal rights, I will continue this hard work as a member of the State Assembly because bringing people together around solutions is not only the right thing to do – it’s something we must do.

I have spent my entire life working with disadvantaged youth and families, and I have seen firsthand how devastating it is for young people and their communities to feel marginalized, disconnected, unwanted or unloved. I believe many of the goals outlined by DFA are the same as my own – and I have spent my life and career fighting for them. The best way to forward our common goals in the State Assembly is to unite diverse voices in our district and our state because the issues and challenges we face are all interconnected – and we must work together towards real solutions.

I am the champion our district needs to provide that progressive voice in Sacramento. I have demonstrated time and time again that I will make the decisions that are right – even if they’re unpopular. I will stand up for those who can’t advocate for themselves – and will fight tooth and nail every day to make sure children and working families are California’s top priority.

The key to California’s future, economic equality and greater opportunity for all is rooted in strong families. A fair and equal society is a vital issue for men and women in underserved communities and a growing and pressing issue for our nation. There are many ways we can promote equality – one of the very best ways is to create economic opportunity and justice for everyone through better schools, more investment in infrastructure and progressive tax policies.

My Campaign is People Powered!

My campaign is all about the grassroots – and it builds upon my years of service to the community. My fired up volunteers know what my campaign is all about and what’s at stake in this election. My opponents have friends with deep-pockets, but I have something they can’t match – and that’s my tried and true coalition of volunteers – people that I’ve worked with for years while working with youth, families and seniors. Here are just two examples:

1) My campaign is already organizing the community around real solutions—reaching out directly to more than 15,000 individual voters, far more than any other candidate. As previously mentioned, I’ve hosted a series of forums throughout the district around vital issues, including job creation and economic inequality, engaging kids in school, mental health services, and crime and public safety.

2) I have scores of incredibly energetic volunteers knocking on doors throughout our district, who are out there right now – talking to their neighbors, phone banking every single day and delivering flyers that say what my campaign is all about and why it’s important now - more than ever - that a progressive voice reach the State Assembly. They know that I’m the champion our district needs in Sacramento.

We plan to continue riding this incredible wave of momentum through the June primary to our victory in November. There are no African Americans from Northern California in the State legislature - and I aim to change that on November 4th.

Voice support


  • Helen Dickey
  • Anne Wagley, CA
  • Mai-Ling Garcia
  • kelly hammargren
  • Vincent Casalaina, CA
  • Kathleen Klein, CA
  • Susan Shawl, CA
  • Mary Nicely, CA
  • Margaret Schultz, CA
  • Diego Gonzalez
...and 121 more.

About the Endorsement Process

The driving force behind all DFA endorsements is our members. We recognize that all politics is local and that what is considered progressive in Los Angeles may be very different from what's considered progressive in Louisville. For this reason, DFA does not have a litmus test of specific progressive positions for which a candidate must stand. Our endorsement is heavily weighted based on these questions:

• Will the candidate move the progressive movement forward in their community?
• Does the candidate have substantial support from our local members?
• Do the candidate's positions and policies fit into the broader progressive movement?
• Is the campaign people-powered and the candidate working to win?

If you have questions, or want to let us know about a candidate in your neighborhood, please call us at (802) 651-3200 or email us at [email protected] .

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