Hayward councilmember Bill Quirk was officially recognized as the preferred Democratic candidate for Assembly District 20 (AD20) this past Sunday at the Democratic Convention held in San Diego.
This development serves as a chief endorsement to add to Quirk’s campaign, which has already witnessed a breadth of political incumbents joining in support for Quirk.
Quirk kicked off his campaign last October and has thus far raised a total of $135,000 as well as gained endorsements from labor organizations, political friends and colleagues from various political offices.
Quirk won the Democratic Party’s pre-endorsement in January, capturing 97 percent of the delegate’s vote and thus stamping out any competition that Quirk may have faced at the Democratic Convention this past weekend.
Even though the Democratic Party endorsement is considered particularly important to any candidate’s electability, Quirk had already been winning the support and money of politicians, police, fire fighters, labor organizations and associations in the East Bay since his campaign started.
“These endorsements are very important; you see big names like State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and 40 or so elected officials backing my campaign. I also have the most volunteers by far and I believe that will be the most important aspect of the campaign,” said Quirk. “I have the won the support of the California Nurses Association, the police in Hayward and Union City and the firefighters in Hayward as well.”
In the assembly race thus far, Quirk has gained a boost with established political incumbents higher than local office standing in the wings of his campaign, spreading the breadth of his touch in the district for potential votes in the primaries and helping him to win the Democratic Party endorsement.
Margaret Hanlon-Gradi, Quirk’s campaign manager, sums up the endorsements through detailing Quirk’s “years of working for fellow Democrats on their campaigns,” highlighting the way of politics within America’s party system.
“Bill was there funding campaigns of other candidates and doing grunt work for the Democratic Party. When it came time for Bill to run for assembly the candidates he helped out were more than willing to turn that help around. That is the way the party system functions,” explained Hanlon-Gradi.
It was Quirk’s exploits into campaign endorsements that gained him Lockyer’s support.
“I’ve known him for about eight years now. He actually lives here in Hayward and when I decided to run for Assembly in 2008 I asked him if Nadia [Lockyer’s wife] was going to run. He told me she was going to run for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, so I said great, I’ll help,” explained Quirk.
Quirk became Nadia Lockyer’s campaign treasurer and today the Lockyers’ endorse Quirk with a $2,000 contribution, one of the larger contributed sums, according to reports filed with the Secretary of State.
Other political officials such as Don Perata, former President pro tempore of the California State Senate, the highest ranking office of California Senate, have endorsed Quirk, an endorsement won through Quirk’s work with Perata’s daughter on the Hayward power plant.
Other notable endorsements include assemblymember Bob Wieckowski ($1,000), Calpine Corporation (3,900) and the agricultural corporate conglomerate Monsanto Company ($2,000).
According to Quirk, his campaign is more than just endorsements and contributions, referring to his history concerning his scientific research for NASA and Lawrence Livermore Labs and highlighting his political experience derived from his work history.
Quirk’s work in NASA contributed to building one of the very first global models of the atmosphere, when most models at the time would report solely what was occurring over the U.S. rather than the whole world.
“The model I helped build was the first [of its kind] and that was when I got involved in global climate change,” said Quirk.
What Quirk takes his most pride in, though, was his research at the Lawrence Livermore Labs on nuclear weapons.
“I started with climate research at the lab but what I was doing with climate research wasn’t very original; other people were already doing that. Nuclear weapons offered something unique. I showed that you could re-use plutonium parts which led to shutting down Rocky Flats nuclear facility and it removed a major environmental threat in Denver,” said Quirk.
“I also worked on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, where I had to come up with a negotiating point that resulted in the treaty being signed,” said Quirk.
According to Quirk, the treaty had to do with the limit on what size of a nuclear blast could be allowed. Quirk came up with a recommendation that all sides could agree on.
“If I hadn’t been there then those things would not have happened, so I am very proud having done them,” said Quirk.
It is history like this that Quirk integrates into his campaign platform, emphasizing the lack of technical experience in Assembly that could be made up with his scientific and political experience.
According to Quirk, working for NASA and Lawrence Livermore Labs gave him political insight because any large institution involves a political structure that must be understood. Since leaving the scientific field, Quirk has spent the last eight years as a Hayward councilmember.
Much of the Assembly candidate’s campaign points stretch across economy, energy, health and education. This is no different than a typical campaign, but his expertise in energy due to his scientific background is an angle that is emphasized.
“There is no one solution to the energy situation, but the most important thing is energy conservation and there are many ways to do that. What we really need to understand better is how to retrofit older homes and add storage to the energy system in order to utilize the stored energy properly. I want to get involved in state politics so that I can push for renewable energy,” explained Quirk.
It came to no surprise, then, that Quirk acquired his most recent endorsement, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV), a political action arm on environmental issues in California.
“Bill Quirk’s understanding of the environment and public health issues facing California was impressive. He’s taken principled stands on environmental issues that demonstrate leadership,” stated Warner Chabot, CEO of CLCV, in his endorsement.
Quirk plans to strive forward in the coming months, stepping up his campaign race in order to clamp down more endorsements and individual voters. With large endorsements in tow, Quirk stands financially in the lead compared to his competitors.
Other candidates that Quirk is running against include Jennifer Ong, optometrist, who announced her bid for Assembly first and garnered the endorsment of Speaker pro Tempore of State Assembly Fiona Ma and pulled much support from the health field gaining $93,236 for campaign use.
Sarabjut Kaur Cheema, New Haven Unified School District board member, recently joined the race with self-reported cash on hand totaling $10,000. Cheema is leaving endorsments anonymous until official filing for candidacy.
Mark Green, mayor of Union City, kicked his campaign off last month pulling city support and some regional support, though his current financial gain is anonymous and he has not returned phone calls for personnel report.
The candidates are bidding for a seat left by the termed out by Mary Hayashi, the assemblywoman found guility of shoplifting in the past year.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 1:11 pm.