SEIU endorses Alex Johnson for LAUSD school board in runoff
LA School Report | June 10, 2014
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The union, which represents 45,000 school-related employees including teachers’ assistants, bus drivers and cafeteria workers, made its decision last night after a members-only town hall event. The endorsement was confirmed by Courtni Pugh, Executive Director of SEIU.
Both Johnson, a senior aide to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, and his opponent, retired administrator George McKenna, were interviewed at the meeting. McKenna was the top vote-getter in last week’s primary for the vacant seat in South LA’s District 1, with 44.3 percent of the vote. Johnson came in second, with 24.7 percent of the vote out of a field of seven candidates.
While there has been little to distinguish the candidates from each other on many issues, Johnson has publicly supported Superintendent John Deasy and campaigned with strong financial support from charter school groups. McKenna has refused to go on record about his views on Deasy. SEIU is considered to have a cordial relationship with Deasy.
SEIU backing could provide a boost to the Johnson campaign; historically the union’s endorsement comes with significant spending on behalf candidates by SEIU’s super PAC. The union also has thousands of members who live within the district, which could prove important in what is expected to be an exceptionally low turnout election.
The union had decided last April to sit on the sidelines during the primary, but said at the time that a re-evaluation of the race was in order for the runoff.