It isn’t often that the Superintendent of Public Instruction gets to assume California’s governorship. That’s why Tom Torlakson is using his few days in office to advocate for an issue that’s important to him: physical fitness.
Torlakson, who is eighth in the line of succession for the governor’s office, assumed the role after other California elected officials traveled to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention.
Torlakson hosted a public walk around Capitol Park Wednesday morning and declared the day “Be Active Day.” Around 50 state employees, advocates, and members of the public joined the superintendent for a stroll. Torlakson is active personally; he runs, swims, cycles, and was a high school track and field coach for 25 years.
Besides being good for students’ health, Torlakson advocates for exercise for educational reasons.
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“I place fitness as a very high priority because we know that students who don’t eat well, who don’t have enough food, who don’t have good nutrition, who don’t have good exercise and aren’t fit, they don’t learn as well,” Torlakson said.
Torlakson said he hosts monthly walks for employees of the California Department of Education to encourage physical fitness and get to know them on a more personal level.
“It’s a good morale builder,” Torlakson said.
Torlakson also complimented Gov. Jerry Brown on his attention to the importance of exercise. He recounted a time he was in Brown’s office for a bill signing, and the governor spontaneously did four pull-ups on a bar set up in the room.
“We could not be more excited for both the acting governor and the superintendent to be hosting an event like this,” said walk attendee and WALKSacramento Project Manager Kirin Kumar.
WALKSacramento is a nonprofit that works toward walkable city planning and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.
Torlakson’s other actions as governor include declaring July 26 “Change Lives - Be a Teacher Day” and declaring states of emergency in two counties being ravaged by wildfires. He said he plans to go to affected areas of Southern California on Thursday to thank firefighters and visit schools that have been converted to relief centers.