Bill Quirk

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William J. Quirk
Bill Quirk.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 20th district
Assumed office
December 3, 2012
Preceded byMary Hayashi (redistricted)
Member of the Hayward City Council
In office
Personal details
Born (1946-09-01) September 1, 1946 (age 74)
Summit, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceHayward, California
Alma materColumbia University (BS) (PhD)
ProfessionNuclear physicist

William J. Quirk (born September 1, 1946) is an American politician currently serving in the California State Assembly. He is a Democrat representing the 20th Assembly District, which encompasses the southern East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2012, he was a nuclear physicist and served on the Hayward City Council.


After earning his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University at the age of 24, Quirk became a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, where he published papers on galactic structure.



Upon returning to New York City, Quirk joined NASA as a research scientist and developed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies climate model, which he used for some of the first studies of climate change. Quirk left NASA to work at the management consulting firm McKinsey and Company in New York City in their computer system practice. Quirk then worked in the computer industry in Silicon Valley before settling into a career at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), where he established himself in the fields of atmospheric science and nuclear technology design. Quirk became this country's expert in nuclear programs in numerous foreign countries. Quirk prepared reports for the Presidential Daily Brief and played a key role in the negotiations for the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Teaching physics at Columbia University, Caltech and UC Davis helped Quirk formulate his lifelong interest in education.[citation needed]

Quirk was a physicist at LLNL for 26 years (1979-2005). In 1996, he helped break the deadlock in the negotiations of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. In the early 1990s, he also showed that the plutonium parts of nuclear weapons could be reused. This resulted in the closing of the Rocky Flats plutonium fabrication facility near Denver, Colorado. This removed the threat of a major environment disaster in the Denver metropolitan area. There had already been a major fire at the facility that had threatened to spread plutonium oxide across the metropolitan area.[citation needed]


City Council[edit]

Quirk served from 2004-12 on the Hayward City Council. While on the Council, Quirk served on the Board of Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency, and the Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Agency. While on the city council, Quirk was dedicated to revitalizing Hayward through promoting jobs and safe and clean neighborhoods.

Quirk also served on the city's Hayward-Ghazni Sister City Committee, promoting relations between the city and the province of Ghazni, Afghanistan, while on the Council. [1][citation needed]

California State Assembly[edit]

Quirk is the only rocket engineer to serve in the California legislature.[2] He has a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University (1970).

Since being elected to the California State Assembly in November 2012, Quirk has served on five committees: Rules, which determines what committees bills are sent to; Appropriations, which determines whether bills that appropriate funds can proceed to a vote of the full assembly; Utilities and Commerce, that deals with the state's telecommunication, electric, gas, and water utilities; Agriculture; and Public Safety.

In 2014, Quirk authored a bill that made it easier to get domestic violence restraining orders in California. The bill AB2089 went into effect January 1, 2015.

In 2016, Quirk authored Assembly Bill 2130 titled "An act to amend Section 281 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to telecommunications," which would freeze the California Advanced Services Fund broadband infrastructure subsidy program and replace it with what amounts to a $100 million no-strings gift from the taxpayers to (mostly) AT&T, according to Steve Blum of Tellus Venture Associates.[3] In September 2016, the California State University East Bay Educational Foundation of Quick's district was selected as one of 18 recipients nationwide that shared in $10 million from AT&T through the Aspire Connect to Success Competition. Hundreds of organizations applied to the competition, which is part of Aspire, AT&T's philanthropic initiative.[4]

In 2017, Quirk was principal coauthor of the controversial California Senate SB 649[5] which would remove a city's ability to control where 5G technology is placed and transfer that power to the state.[6]

In 2018, Quirk was the sponsor of a bill to allow PG&E to defray the cost of settlements related to their negligence in the October 2017 Northern California Wildfires by forcing ratepayers to pay.[7][8][9][10] The measure proved controversial, with noted legal researcher Erin Brockovich stating “It’s another backdoor deal for them, it’s inexcusable. I hope the state stops enabling their behavior by giving them passes time and time again.”[11]

2014 California State Assembly[edit]
California's 20th State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 31,882 66.0
Republican Jaime Patino 11,246 23.3
No party preference Luis Reynoso 5,186 10.7
Total votes 48,314 100.0
General election
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 56,144 71.8
Republican Jaime Patino 22,007 28.2
Total votes 78,151 100.0
Democratic hold
2016 California State Assembly[edit]
California's 20th State Assembly district election, 2016
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 66,526 77.7
Republican Luis A. Wong 19,078 22.3
Total votes 85,604 100.0
General election
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 114,001 74.3
Republican Luis A. Wong 39,507 25.7
Total votes 153,508 100.0
Democratic hold
2018 California State Assembly[edit]
California's 20th State Assembly district election, 2018
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 56,762 99.9
Republican Joseph Grcar (write-in) 81 0.1
Total votes 56,843 100.0
General election
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 105,848 77.4
Republican Joseph Grcar 30,863 22.6
Total votes 136,711 100.0
Democratic hold
2020 California State Assembly[edit]
2020 California's 20th State Assembly district election
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bill Quirk (incumbent) 42,606 47.1%
Democratic Alexis Villalobos 19,900 22.0%
Republican Son Nguyen 18,410 20.4%
Democratic Vipan Singh Bajwa 9,463 10.5%
Total votes 90,379 100%

Personal life[edit]

Quirk and his wife Laurel moved to the Hayward area in 1978. They raised two children who attended Moreau Catholic High School and the University of California. Since moving to Hayward in 1978, Quirk served the community as president of Hayward Friends of the Library and Chair, Hayward Library Commission. He is a member of Hayward Rotary, the Hayward Arts Council and the Hayward Area Historical Society.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "We are family: Hayward reaches out to Afghan 'sisters'". East Bay Times. September 21, 2005. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Capitol Alert Insider Edition: Freshman Facts: Bill Quirk, rocket scientist -". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  3. ^ "AT&T writes its own permission slip to end California wireline service". Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "CSUEB Educational Foundation Receives $500,000 from AT&T to Help Hayward Students Graduate". Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  5. ^ "SB-649 Wireless telecommunications facilities". Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "Cities take stand against California bill for 5G antenna placement". Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "Bill Text - AB-33 2017 northern California wildfires". Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  8. ^ "California Assembly considers PG&E wildfire 'bailout'". Curbed SF. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  9. ^ "PG&E Customers to Foot the Bill for Wine Country Fire Costs, Under Revised Bill". KQED. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  10. ^ "PG&E customers would pay some Wine Country fire costs under bond proposal". July 9, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  11. ^ "PG&E customers would pay some Wine Country fire costs under bond proposal". July 9, 2018. Retrieved July 12, 2018.

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