Richard Fuentes, an openly gay Oakland resident who’s running for a seat on the city’s school board, this week announced three big endorsements for his campaign.
At a fundraising brunch Sunday, August 26, at La Borinquene Mexican Delicatessen, Fuentes told the crowd that he has been endorsed by Oakland Teachers Association. He also introduced the president of the Oakland Police Officers Association, Barry Donelan, who said that his group has endorsed Fuentes.
On his Facebook page today, Fuentes posted that he received the endorsement of the East Bay Young Democrats.
Fuentes, 30, works as a legislative aide for Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who was at the event and praised him as the type of leader the financially strapped school district needs.
“He’s committed to education, in this case obviously, schoolchildren,” De La Fuente said. “I’m 100 percent behind Richard.”
He added that Fuentes, who was 26 when he interviewed for the council staff job four years ago, has grown while working at City Hall and that the school district faces many challenges with which Fuentes can help.
“He’s running to move them forward,” the councilman added.
For his part, Fuentes told the audience that as the president of the Hoover Elementary School Site Council and a leader in the school’s PTA group, he has worked to transform the school. Wanting to get students off the street and into classrooms, Hoover now has a truancy center, Fuentes said. He also has a science and technology initiative and is “very focused on teacher retention.”
“We laid off no teachers” at Hoover, he said, referencing the school board’s decision earlier this year to close five campuses.
During his remarks, Donelan said that the police officers union does not usually get involved in school board races.
“What we’re looking for here is leadership. The OPOA unequivocally endorses Richard for school board,” Donelan said.
Fuentes is challenging incumbent Jumoke Hinton-Hodge in District 3, which includes the West Oakland neighborhood. His platform includes reducing the drop-out rate and increasing classroom funding.
Fuentes’s boyfriend is Sean Sullivan, who is running for the District 3 City Council seat. De La Fuente is locked in a race for the council’s at-large seat against lesbian incumbent Rebecca Kaplan.