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Four Democratic candidates for Califoria governor to appear at NUHW Forum this September

The Biden/Trump presidential debate is the earliest faceoff between presidential candidates in history – but it’s not the only early debate this year.
Four Democratic contenders campaigning to succeed Gavin Newsom will appear on the National Union of Healthcare Workers Governor Candidate Forum this September – more than two years before the mid-term election

BURLINGAME — Campaign season begins earlier every election cycle and along with it election debates. The debate this week between President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump is the earliest presidential debate in U.S. history. A debate between the two announced major party candidates for president has never happened before the political conventions. The race for governor in California also will see a record early debate in 2024.

On Sunday, Sept. 29, 2024, two years prior to the mid-term election, before the ballots are counted in the Biden/Trump presidential election rematch this November, the top Democrats campaigning to become the next governor of California will appear at a forum sponsored by the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW).  Confirmed participants are California’s Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Toni G. Atkins, Lieutenant Governor and AmbassadorElleni Kounalakis, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, and former State Controller Betty Yee. It had been previously reported that only three candidates had confirmed for the NUHW Governor Candidate Forum. Last week, Kounalakis announced her intention to appear as well.

The candidates will take questions from a panel of journalists as well as answer questions submitted by NUHW members. The 90-minute forum will be moderated by the Associated Press’ Lisa Matthews. In addition to the live audience composed of NUHW members meeting at a hotel the event will be streamed live over the Internet and simulcast in Spanish.

Following the forum, NUHW will conduct a straw poll of its members.

The NUHW stage has become the first stop for California candidates in major races to appear together.

Last October, NUHW hosted the first debate in the 2024 U.S. Senate race with Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Katie Porter and Rep. Barbra Lee taking questions from a panel of journalists. The forum, held in Los Angeles, was hosted in conjunction with Roll Call, the newspaper covering Capitol Hill and moderated by Matthews. The audience, composed of NUHW members, represented a cross section of California’s diverse population and workforce, including psychologists, pharmacists, nurses and nursing assistants, clerical workers, janitors, technicians, social workers, and many others. NUHW members work in nearly every California county.

In 2017, NUHW hosted the first debate in the governor’s race that Gavin Newsom ultimately won. That year’s NUHW-sponsored forum was the first in-person joint appearance by Democratic gubernatorial candidates in a forum or debate format. Appearing on the NUHW stage in Anaheim was then State Treasurer John Chiang; former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin; then Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom; and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The moderator was ABC News correspondent John Donvan.

PLEASE NOTE: Reporters and editors interested in covering the forum should RSVP in advance to  Space is limited. Limited space on risers also is available for cameras.


The National Union of Healthcare Workers is democratic, member-led union that represents 19,000 healthcare workers in California and Hawai’i.


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