Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, Jan. 8 @ 2:10 p.m. / Elections

Michael Greer Touts Political Experience, Background in Public Education As Assets in Assembly Race

Michael Greer says his background in education and politics will be an asset in Sacramento. | Photo courtesy of Michael Greer

Ask Michael Greer to sum up his qualifications for the California Assembly District 2 position and he’ll do it in three words — “I know people.”

Greer is the sole Republican among seven candidates vying for the seat Jim Wood is vacating in December. He admits one more Republican won’t make much difference in votes in a Democrat-dominated Legislature. But the 73-year-old Del Norte County resident says he can use his experience as a school board member, a teacher, coach, insurance agent and a lobbyist to be a voice for people regardless of political ideology.

Greer even mentioned his recent election as Humboldt Senior Softball League president despite being from Del Norte County as evidence that he understands people.

“I’ve done so many different things in my life, through my different professions and so forth, I understand and I know how to adapt,” he told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Friday. “And I also know how to listen to the people and find out what their issues, their problems are, and I’m willing to be that voice to be able to do that. Not just for Del Norte.”

Greer will appear on California’s March 5 primary ballot alongside Democratic candidates Cynthia Click, Rusty Hicks, Ariel Kelley, Frankie Myers, Chris Rogers and Ted Williams.

Greer moved to Del Norte County after he and his wife lost their home in the Camp Fire. They had lived in Paradise for 35 years and Greer had been on the Paradise Unified School District Board of Trustees for 14 years.

The search for a new home following the 2018 fire took Greer and his wife up and down I-5 from San Diego to Port Angeles, Washington. They settled in Crescent City in 2020, finding a community similar to the one they left in Paradise. Greer, who has a background in special education, began teaching at Pine Grove Elementary School right before the COVID-19 shutdown.

He said he worked at Pine Grove and then at Joe Hamilton until, due to his pension with the California State Teachers Retirement System, he was unable to. Then he threw his hat into the ring for Del Norte County Unified School District Trustee in 2022. Greer currently represents Trustee Area 5, which includes Margaret Keating Elementary School in Klamath.

Greer said he’s been in politics in one form or another since he was elected to the Gridley City Council at 27 years old. Despite being a Republican, he believes in unions. He represented his colleagues as union president when he was a teacher in Yuba City and was involved at the state level for the California Teachers Association.

Greer said he represented teachers from Colusa, Sutter, Yuba, Nevada and Alpine counties, which he says are extremely conservative communities.

“I’m hoping for the endorsement from the California Teachers Association, which is very unusual for a Republican to get,” he said. “I received a state, what they call a WHO [We Honor Ours] Award, from the California Teachers Association, and I wear my Republican caucus red shirt with 1,500 other delegates down in LA. They know who I am and they know what I represent. They know that I believe in public education.”

When he relocated to Del Norte County, Greer said he ran for school board because “I knew I was going to do that anyway.” He said he decided he was going to run for Assembly even before Wood decided he would step down.

“I feel there should always be somebody running. I don’t like to just have an incumbent automatically get it,” Greer said. “Because of the experience I’ve had [from] lobbying in Washington DC and lobbying in Sacramento and my school board experiences, I decided I would go ahead and do it.”

Greer said he hopes to serve on the education committee if he is elected to the Assembly. And, though he believes in public education, he also believes in parental rights and has no problems with charter schools.

Though he considers his experience in education to be an asset, Greer said he’s also been educating himself on the other issues important to people in Assembly District 2. Water concerns are at the top, especially for Mendocino, Humboldt and Sonoma counties, he said.

Greer also mentioned community safety — “problems all over with crime.”

“People want to be safe, whether it’s in their schools, in the shopping centers or whatever, they want to be safe,” he said. “And I think part of the things that we need to do is that people need to be responsible for their actions. I don’t care if it’s a government politician or someone that is shoplifting or if someone is murdered, we need to hold people responsible.”

That works both ways, Greer said.

“We also need to hold those people responsible to do good things,” he said. “Let them know they do good things.”

Greer insists that his competitors will do the same thing the Democratically-led Legislature in Sacramento has done for 20 years. This is why people don’t trust the government, he says.

The only way things will change, Greer said, is by electing someone who’s willing to compromise and speak for the people.

“Will my one single vote change a whole lot? No,” he said. “But will my voice be heard? Yes.”


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