Member Activist Jose Navarro Steps into the Political Arena
Jose Navarro, an employee with California’s Franchise Tax Board and SEIU Local 1000 member, is running for School Board in Sacramento against the incumbent of Trustee Area 3. His interest in running for office was sparked by the teacher strikes he saw moving across the country.
“When talks about a strike at SCUSD started, I started to pay more attention,” said Navarro. “I read about possible receivership and state takeover, the mistakes and misreporting on financial statements resulting in unnecessary layoffs, and the cease-and-desist letter from the district asking teachers to stop helping parents and kids with IT. I just couldn’t watch anymore—I had to get involved. The school board needs change.”
Navarro’s work with SEIU 1000 as a member-leader is driven by the same idea that drives him to run for office: that real democracy is one you can participate in. “Being part of a union and democracy is not a spectator sport,” he said. “I choose to be a member and participate in my union because I know collectively we can achieve better working conditions and better wages. The entire community benefits with my involvement.”
He also stresses the connections between the needs of that community and the individual students that live in it. “We have a significant number of our fellow citizens that are homeless; that means there are homeless kids within our school district,” said Navarro. “The pandemic has amplified the problem with people losing their jobs and unable to pay rent. Even employed people have not been able to keep up with the rent increases.” Navarro added that “public schools are the first phase to create public members of society. So, I will fight to make sure every student, regardless of background, receives an equitable education.”
Navarro also stresses the reality that our communities have a diverse set of needs, and a one size fits all solution does not work for the future of California. “The entire community benefits from well-educated citizens,” says Navarro. “We need to prepare these kids for college or apprenticeship or other paths that lead them to the American dream.”