Quirk-Silva, Sharon

CA State Assembly Member; former Fullerton City Council member and Mayor





An oral history of Sharon Quirk-Silva, who is currently serving in the California State Assembly, representing the 65th Assembly District which encompasses parts of northern Orange County. Quirk-Silva is also a former city council member and mayor of the Fullerton City Council and has worked as a teacher for 31 years. The purpose of this interview was to collect her life history, details of her teaching career, and public servant work on the council and Assembly. Specifically, this interview details her childhood and family life growing up in the south side of Fullerton, California; discusses her parent’s backgrounds and work histories; shares her fondest memories of growing up in Fullerton in the 1970s; talks about the small Latino population in Fullerton and describes the community and different neighborhoods; discusses her swim team experiences in high school and the team trips she participated in; her early exposure to politics; shares how her mother is her role model; reflects on her time at Fullerton High School, the social clubs she joined, and her competitive nature; her decision to join Fullerton College over the California Coast Guard as well as her decision to attend the University of Los Angeles, California; discusses her siblings and the traditional and non-traditional elements of her family; shares how she met her husband; details how she went into teaching; her desires to join the Peace Corps in her twenties; having children and her early experiences working in public education; how she first became involved in politics through joining Parks and Recreation as well as helping local campaigns; details her involvement with helping to organize and co-chair Neighbors United For Fullerton in 2003; her decision to run for Fullerton City Council in 2004 and her family’s response; her campaign memories involving the use of creative materials, revelations of how partisan individuals are, and winning; managing family life, teaching, and serving on the council; recalls how she met Pam Keller and her experiences of serving on the council with her; the gender differences on council and the allies she found in local women politicians; the issues most important to her while serving on council such as land and building developments; her want to demystify the council and her creation of Walk ‘n’ Talks; compares her experiences as a council member and mayor; discusses the Kelly Thomas tragedy, her immediate actions, and how Fullerton’s governance changed; recalls the first council meeting after Kelly Thomas’ tragedy and how it shaped her second time as mayor; reflects on her biggest accomplishments and challenges while on council; her decision to run against Chris Norby in 2012 for Assembly and her campaign platform; she recalls winning Assembly, the issues most important to her, and the challenges she faced; how her experiences as a councilmember helped her in Sacramento; reflects on what it takes to be an effective member of legislature; what she brings to the Assembly as a Latina, and the importance of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus; discusses gender differences on the Assembly; her attempts at re-election in 2014 and decision to run again and win in 2016; talks about the political climate change; reflects on what led her to pay attention to women’s issues and equality and the work she’s done in the Assembly to address inequalities; her definition and perspectives of feminism; the differences in the way men and women lead; further discusses how local women in politics support each other; her thoughts on women in politics; her thoughts on women in politics if Hillary Clinton would have won the 2016 United States Presidential Election; ends the interview with what she is most proud of.


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Description> Sharon Quirk-Silva, 2017.
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Description> Sharon Quirk-Silva with interviewer, Natalie M. Fousekis, 2017.
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Description> Sharon Quirk-Silva being interviewed by Natalie M. Fousekis, 2017.