Editor’s Note: This biography was provided by the candidate’s office.
Andy Thorburn is a Democrat, a businessman, a nonprofit founder, a former classroom teacher and an advocate for working people. He has worked as an educator, union organizer, and entrepreneur, and at each phase in his life, he has prioritized the principle that any organization – a country or a company – gets the best results if it treats its people fairly, with dignity, and holds itself to a standard of excellence.
Thorburn was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in New Jersey along with his two brothers.
After college, Thorburn started his career in public service as a high school teacher in Newark, New Jersey. His leadership abilities were recognized almost immediately, and he was elected to a senior position in the local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Also while teaching, Thorburnattended graduate school at Jersey City University.
Everything changed in Thorburn’s life in 1970, when he and other classroom teachers led a strike for better wages, better benefits, and better working conditions. Andy was jailed for the strike, along with numerous other teachers, but won the battle for livable wages, fair treatment for workers, and smaller classroom sizes.
After leaving the classroom, Thorburn founded a small business that specialized in selling insurance to working families, particularly classroom teachers. This launched a truly remarkable career in business and philanthropy that has led to him creating hundreds of jobs, and providing retirement security to countless Americans at home and abroad. Today Thorburn leads the international company Global Benefits Group and he’s also the founder of the Global Benefits Group Foundation – a nonprofit that provides innovative new methods of financing, like microloans, to those who need them the most.
Thorburn has been married to his wife Karen, for 36 years, and they have two children together, both of which they adopted as infants. Andy and Karen live in Orange County, where they have lived for the past 18 years.