Working Class Values
Delaine is running for Governor because she knows we can do better. She was born in San Diego to Hank and Dotty Eastin. Her father was a Navy machinist and her mother a dress sales clerk. Education and hard work were the values she was taught. "It was clear my father and mother made my education a priority when they moved our family to a smaller house that was in a better school district. As I have said for decades, budgets are statements of values, and my parents taught me that lesson throughout their lives. My parents put their children and our education first."
Eastin received her Bachelor's degree from UC Davis and her Masters in Political Science at UC Santa Barbara.
She taught at several community colleges, and then worked as an accounting manager and corporate planner while serving on the City Council in Union City until she was elected to the State Assembly in 1986. One of her proudest moments was the day they called to tell her there would be a Delaine Eastin Elementary school in Union City.
In the Assembly Delaine chaired the Education Committee and sponsored major legislation to reform California’s education system. Eastin authored the first school bond that combined higher education and K-12 schools into one bond. These bonds helped pay for new schools at all education levels while fixing and modernizing older schools.
As chair of the Governmental Efficiency and Consumer Protection Committee, Eastin combined two agencies into one, the first time this had been done in over thirty years. She worked to provide better consumer protection from the misdeeds of unlicensed contractors. Eastin also carried the biggest landfill cleanup bill in the state's history, and won numerous awards for her innovative recycling legislation. She carried legislation to ensure that local transportation measures were not stalled for years at Caltrans and was awarded the Legislator of the Year Award by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the first Assemblymember and woman to ever win that award.
She ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1994 and overcame the Republican wave to become the first - and to date only - woman to serve in that position.
She served two terms, from 1995-2003, under two different Governors -- one Republican and one Democrat. "I can’t say I always agreed with them, but I fought every day to give more kids a chance to succeed –- just like my parents gave me. I was proud that I was able to personally visit over 600 schools across all 58 counties." Eastin oversaw a staff of over 3,000 and a budget that incorporated over 40% of the state budget.
Eastin championed public libraries, wiring schools for technology, and stronger technical and vocational training for students. She worked to create statewide standards and systems to increase accountability. "I worked with Governor Pete Wilson to successfully reduce class sizes in every K-3 class in California, but I also joined the successful lawsuit against Prop 187 that would have seen us target immigrant students in our classrooms. I’ll stand up to Donald Trump and his divisive, misguided policies."
She took on the tobacco companies and helped pass Proposition 10, the measure that increased taxes on tobacco products, created First Five California and directed most of the revenue to early childhood development. When lawmakers worked with Governor Schwarzenegger to try and take this money to balance the state budget, Eastin said NO. Voters agreed with her.
Eastin fought for increased parental involvement, better teacher training and worked to create an overall safe and healthy school environment for every child regardless of race, gender or orientation. She commissioned the first State Department of Education LGBT Task Force to foster safer and more welcoming school environments for LGBT students at all grade levels. She sought to put gardens in schools and fought to improve nutrition in schools. Eastin led the fight to cut the outdated education code and streamline state bureaucracy. She fought for improved school safety, arts education, and career technical education. She wrote the Deaf Education Bill of Rights and was the first superintendent to speak at the graduation at the Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. She also served as a Regent of the University of California and a Trustee of the California State University system, fighting against higher tuition.
Unfortunately over the past 20 years California has had a constantly changing set of values and budget priorities driven either by polling of the day or the crisis of the moment. It is time for us to stop being short term reactionaries and start strategically planning for a bright future for California.
Neil Postman wrote that, "Children are a living message we send to a time we will never see." What is our message?
Are we going to leave our children with dirty water, poor schools, massive inequality and a corrupted republic? Or are we going to unite, invest in the future, and do the hard work it takes to rebuild our Democracy?
"If I give you 28 pencils, one at a time, you can break every single one. If I give you 28 pencils all together, the strongest person cannot break them. If we organize and stand together we have the power to shape a magnificent future. Please think about it and join me on this campaign. Thank you."
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