(Nov. 11) Spanish, U.S. history, world history, government and economics, ethnic studies. Over the course of a 34-year teaching career, Assemblyman Jose Medina, stood before students and taught each of those subjects.
"I loved them all," Medina said. "I enjoyed the social studies as much as I enjoyed teaching Spanish."
Those decades in the classroom also paved Medina's entrance into the world of politics, both via his role as a a representative to the state council of the California Teachers Association and his stints on the Jurupa Unified School District Board of Education and the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees.
While his educational experience didn't win Medina a spot on the Assembly Education Committee, he does sit on the Assembly Higher Education Committee. Still, he identifies his focus as the Inland Empire's economic vitality, befitting his chairmanship of the Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy.
But his 2012 campaign did reflect his educational background. His benefactors included teacher-tied entities like Opportunity PAC, an organization that drew $600,000 in 2011-2012 from the CTA and spent more than $350,000 on the Riverside Democrat's behalf. Citing his years in the classroom, Medina said the organization's political clout doesn't change its effectiveness as a platform for educators.
"I know that CTA is a big player, but as a teacher who was on the State Council, I personally also think that CTA speaks well for teachers," Medina said. "I don't know of any other group that knows the classroom better than the California Teachers Association."
The 2013-2014 Legislature features the largest freshman class in decades. In this recurring series, Insider Edition helps get you acquainted with the influx of newcomers.