Patrick O'Donnell (copy) (copy)

Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach)

State Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell said when he was first elected in 2014 that education would always be his top priority.

The former high school teacher now chairs the Assembly Education Committee, and was the author of two major bills this year. One reforms the state's charter school laws, and the other puts a $15 billion bond on the March ballot.

O'Donnell (D-70th District) wrote the bond bill so it covers preschools as well as K-12, community colleges and universities. Gov. Gaven Newsom signed the bill last week.

"Students are more motivated to learn when their schools are safe and modern," O'Donnell said in a release. "This bond will provide funds to rehabilitate our classrooms and construct career technical education/vocational education facilities to ensure our high school graduates are prepared for jobs in the modern economy."

The charter reform bill, also signed last week, gives school districts more tools to oversee and authorize charter schools. O'Donnell said that bill "ensures that we will have qualified teachers in all classrooms."

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Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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