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March 3, 2020 — Primary Election
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California State AssemblyCandidate for District 20

Photo of Bill Quirk

Bill Quirk

42,606 votes (47.1%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Reducing California's and the world's greenhouse gas footprint in a way that strengthens our economy.
  • Address housing and homelessness by increasing home building at all economic levels.
  • Increasing funding for, and, improving our educational outcomes at all levels.



Profession:Assembly Member/Retired Astrophysicist
Assembly Member, District 20, California State Assembly — Elected position (2012–current)
City Council Member, Hayward City Council — Elected position (2004–2012)
Physicist: Climate Science, Expert on Foreign Nuclear Weapon Programs, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1979–2005)
Library Commissioner, Hayward Public Library Commission — Appointed position (1997–2004)
Corporate Planner, Amdahl, Sunnyvale (1978–1979)
Management Consultant, Mckinsey and Company (1977–1978)
Astrophysicist, Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York City (1972–1977)


Columbia University in the City of New York Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Astrophysics (1970)
Columbia Engineering Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Applied Physics (1967)

Community Activities

Member and Committee Chair, Hayward Rotary (2005–current)
Member and Past President, Friends of the Hayward Library (1990–current)
Member, Hayward Area Historical Society (2012–current)
Member, Hayward Chamber of Commerce (1991–current)
Member, Hayward Democratic Club (1988–current)

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California (4)

Describe what proposal(s) you would support to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing for all income groups in California?
Answer from Bill Quirk:

We have to build more housing. Below are some of the measures I am working to pass. 

First: I would enforce the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA). Each city and unincorporated area is required to zone for housing of all types. Unfortunately, some cities zone areas for housing that are financially unrealistic for building. I am working with other legislators to enforce cities to do realistic zoning.

Second: I am working on legislation to make low interest loans available to builders to finance the infrastructure such as roads that are needed for large development. 

Third: I am working on legislation to reduce the fees that cities and counties charge developers. Working with others we are studying the many fees that developers must pay and determining which are truly justifiable. 


Fourth: I have supported the housing bond and other money that the state is allocating for affordable housing.

What programs or legislation would you support to meet the water needs of all Californians?
Answer from Bill Quirk:

As of 2019, over a million Californians did not have access to clean drinking water. In 2019, I shepherded a bill through the committee I chair that will assure that all the small water districts in the state will have the money needed to operate their facilities so their customers have water that meets health standards. I have also helped pass bills for testing the water available in schools for lead. I am currently working on a bill to assure that all Californians are alerted to problems in their water supply.


Assuring an adequate supply of water for all Californians is a daunting task. I have helped put bonds on the ballot to support: storage of water for drought years, recycling of water, and water conservation. I supported a bill that mandates that the groundwater in California is managed in a sustainable way. I killed a bill that would have made it harder to use recycled water in Agriculture. Agriculture is the largest water user in California. In many parts of the state, farmers are using drip irrigation and measuring the water in the ground to know when to water crops and how much. These practices need to spread to the entire state.

To reach a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, as set forth in a 2018 executive order what, if any, proposals, plans or legislation would you support?  Please be specific.
Answer from Bill Quirk:

I am working on legislation to make the generation of hydrogen more cost effective. We know how to achieve carbon neutrality for electric utilities. We need a diverse portfolio of renewable resources, and we need storage. Batteries work well for a few hours to a day. For longer term storage, the best option is hydrogen. Hydrogen would be created from electrolysis and stored underground. Hydrogen would then be used to generate electricity when needed.

For building heating and cooling, the buildings need to be well insulated to minimize energy use and carbon neutral electricity can be used for the residual conditioning. Electricity can also meet much of the demands of industry.

I am working to ensure that we build the hydrogen stations needed to make sure that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are a practical option. The toughest sector to get to carbon neutral is transportation. Electric car sales are actually down for all the car companies except TESLA. Consumer acceptance is limited for electric vehicles, particularly for people who do not have their own garage. For those who live in multifamily buildings or have to park on the street, they do not have an easy way to charge an electric vehicle. This is likely a majority of car owners. Thus, it is important to have an alternative to electric vehicles. The best alternative for zero emissions is hydrogen. The car can be fueled as easily as a gas or diesel vehicle.


I am working on legislation to make carbon capture and storage more financially feasible. Even with all this, there will be some applications for which fossil fuels are necessary. Thus, to reach zero carbon, carbon capture and storage must be considered. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has recently written a white paper showing how organic waste can be converted into hydrogen and carbon-dioxide. The hydrogen can be used to create carbon free energy and the carbon-dioxide can be captured and stored underground. 

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, we spend over $81,000 per individual who is incarcerated.  Other than incarceration, what ways can the State address safety and justice?
Answer from Bill Quirk:

The best way to save money is to make sure that young people do not commit crimes in the first place. If people do commit crimes, then we have to make sure that they do not commit crimes again. The best way to prevent someone from offending again is to make sure that people have jobs and housing when they leave jail or prison. 


The best way to keep youth from offending is through education and youth programs. I have supported increasing education funding. That funding has gone up nearly 50% since I joined the legislature in 2012. At a local level, I have supported school parcel taxes and bonds in the Fremont, Hayward, San Lorenzo, Sunol and Castro Valley School districts by sending mail to households supporting these measures. In Union City, I have supported two measures for youth programs by mailing to households. 

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $515,457

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Northern California Carpenters Regional Council
State Building & Construction Trades Council of California
AFSCME California
California State Association of Electrical Workers
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104

More information about contributions

By State:

California 85.68%
District of Columbia 2.40%
Texas 2.14%
Florida 1.83%
Other 7.95%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.81%)
Small contributions (0.19%)

By Type:

From organizations (92.38%)
From individuals (7.62%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Candidate Contact Info

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