Photo and Article by Yasmine Sarraf.
Have you ever been so passionate about an issue that you decided to run for California governor? For most people, the answer to this question is a no, but for Denis Lucey, the answer is a yes.
Santa Rosa High School students know Lucey as a substitute teacher. He has taught other students as well, from kindergartners to high school seniors. However, he is not just known by students, but also by California voters as well.
Lucey is a candidate for California governor in the gubernatorial recall election. He said that it is an opportunity for him to get statewide publicity for an initiative he wants to get on the ballot. “The initiative is what I call ’50/50 Child Custody’ and my purpose here is to reform the state’s laws in regards to divorce and child custody,” Lucey said.
His goal is to reduce divorce trauma on children, explaining that divorce can be a traumatic experience for children. “Years ago, I was down in Rohnert Park in a kindergarten class, and I had a little girl crying,” Lucey said, “and she goes, ‘I love my mommy, I love my daddy, why can’t I love them equally, by living half the time with each?’”
Lucey went on to explain that the student’s parents were in a divorce battle and were fighting over who got majority custody. In a note to Former President Obama, he wrote, “Overwhelmingly these stories pertain to an ugly divorce that turns a sweet child into a battered rope from a brutal tug-of-war legal battle.”
Lucey also said that he feels that issues surrounding the environmental disasters in California are as important as divorce and child custody laws.
He shared that he had the privilege of working with the indigenous community of the state of California. His experience with them led him to say, “I do believe the problem that we’re having with the fires, the problems we’re having with global warming and all these other environmental disasters, is a result of the fact that we need to involve the indigenous people in the decision-making process for the things that impact our environment.”
He believes that we would have a better environment if non-native powers would embrace Native wisdom. “They have a lot of wisdom and knowledge. But because they don’t have a PhD — that doesn’t mean they don’t know stuff that’s important.”
Lucey said that being a teacher is a major cause as to why he is fighting for these causes. ” . . . I’ve seen so many students suffer and I just want them to have a better life.”
Lucey’s name is on the ballot for the 2021 gubernatorial recall election.