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Chris Kelley, Campaign Manager  
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WCC School Board Candidate Tom Panas Earns Major Endorsement
from Congressman George Miller

Miller praises Panas as a proven leader who will put kids first

Richmond, Calif.
– Congressman George Miller, Ret. announced today he endorses Tom Panas for West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education. Congressman Miller is a Richmond native and served on the Education and Labor Committee during his entire 40-year tenure in Congress. Congressman Miller believes that it is vitally important that our local school board is comprised of principled leaders who embrace transparency and accountability and who know how to get things done for our students.

“Tom Panas is a proven leader who knows how to get results, bring people together, and solve problems. Tom is smart, fair, and passionate about the future of our kids and our community,” said Congressman Miller. “I am supporting Tom Panas because I know he will work hard and deliver on his conviction that all students deserve the highest quality education. Tom is exactly who we need looking out for our communities and kids.”

Congressman Miller’s endorsement carries special importance as he was first elected to Congress on a wave of the public’s desire for increased transparency and accountability from their elected officials following the Watergate scandal. Panas is running on a platform that includes making the WCCUSD more open and responsive, and to improve transparency, accountability, and financial oversight.

“I’m proud to earn this endorsement from Congressman Miller. I’ve long admired his work on education where he put kids, equity, and accountability first,” said Panas. “I’m honored to follow the example of Congressman Miller – leading with integrity and pushing for creative solutions to some of our most challenging problems. Congressman Miller served our region in Congress for 40 years with integrity and openness, and that’s how I’ll serve as a member of the school board.”

Congressman Miller has long championed education equality for low-income and minority students, English-language learners, students with disabilities, and other communities facing disadvantages. During his tenure in Congress, Miller pushed for increased accountability in schools and was dedicated to student success. He helped create landmark legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Panas is running on a much needed platform for excellent schools and fiscal accountability just as the WCCUSD is hoping to turn over a new leaf by addressing past financial issues and looking towards a more transparent, hopeful future focused on academic excellence. A retired chief financial officer and certified public accountant, Panas is first and foremost a father whose twin sons attended WCCUSD schools. He would bring to the Board the insights of a father whose children had special needs, while also providing critically needed financial expertise and insight. He sees the urgency of ensuring proper resources get to the classroom to meet the needs of students and teachers. Panas is chair of the district’s Citizens Bond Oversight Committee and served on the Community Budget Advisory Committee. He is also a member of the Black Minds Matter Strategy Team as well as the Latina Center/Healthy Richmond’s West County Parents Group.

Panas has a strong track record of public service in West Contra Costa community organizations such as the Friends of El Cerrito Library and the Richmond Emergency Food Bank. He has lived in West Contra Costa County for more than 40 years. Panas’ commitment to the district reflects his selfless public service with the objective of positively impacting all students and schools across the district.

Congressman Miller’s endorsement comes just as voting begins. Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters starting on Monday, October 10.