A note from the editor: This is an opinion column from Molly Jane Quirk about her mom Sharon Quirk-Silva, a candidate for AD-65:
When I was 14 years old my Mom approached our family with the idea to run for Fullerton City Council.
I’ll be the first to admit that, as your then-stereotypical teenager, I was mortified. There would be signs around the city, with her name on it!? What would the other kids at school say? Worse, would they make fun of me if she lost?
At that time, there were very few women elected officials in the city and Orange County in general, and even fewer women of color. My mom, the first person to attend college from her family, and a schoolteacher by profession, did not fit the mold.
Winning seemed like a long shot, but she reminded me that if I ever really wanted something done, I needed to work hard for it and couldn’t be afraid. She repeated the adage I had resented until recent years: Actions speak louder than words.
If you want something in your community to change, you better put the work in to help change it, too. After years of teaching at Richman Elementary, the same school she attended as a child, my Mom saw there was a gap in the way certain parts of Fullerton were being represented.
I recall many weekends as a child, before she ever stepped foot into public office, being at Richman to create school gardens, do mural & beautification projects, help at health/dental clinics, etc. You see, my Mom doesn’t just show up in a classroom for a photo op or use a tagline like “Fix Local Schools” on a campaign flyer.
She has been out there, finding ways to help students and families for decades. Since then, a lot has changed. My Mom became the first Latina woman to serve on Fullerton City Council.
Years later after serving as Mayor, she became the first Latina State Assemblywoman to serve from Orange County (again, shocking many- including Democrats). There have been lots of up and downs along the way.
That’s politics. That’s life.
Being a Democrat in deep red OC, you better have thick skin. It’s not the place to take things personally. I would be lying, however, if I said this election wasn’t particularly disturbing.
Being the target of what the OC Weekly called “California’s most despicable campaign tactic of 2016” (of which I won’t give the dignity of describing) has been hard. No one ever wants to read or hear things about your mother that are false and hurtful.
At the same time, I am grateful for all of the friends, family, and supporters who continually reach out to cheer her on and say “Keep going.”
My Mom continues to do this because people ask her to. Because they have told her she has helped them. Because she sincerely hopes to improve the lives of families in the community she loves and has lived in since she was a baby with her blue-collar family of 12 on Hill St.
I know she will sincerely appreciate your vote on November 8 and work hard for you, because anything she has ever done she has worked hard for. If you are still on the fence about where she stands on anything, or about voting in general (I know this election is turning a LOT of voters off), please call my Mom’s campaign at (714) 485-3377.
To those who have been with us for the ride: Thank you so much! And to my mom Sharon Quirk-Silva, you and Dad are the most incredible parents I could have ever had. You are my hero. Thanks for demonstrating that you cannot allow anyone to set limits for you and to never be afraid.