Sharon Quirk-Silva has been leading in districtwide results for the 65th State Assembly District in California’s midterm election since Tuesday.
Quirk-Silva has 52.8 percent of votes, with her opponent Alexandria Coronado receiving 47.2 percent of votes at 240 voting precincts across Fullerton, Anaheim, Cypress, Stanton, La Palma and Buena Park, according to the Secretary of State.
This could be Quirk-Silva’s second consecutive term and third time overall holding this position, which is one that has changed party preferences frequently throughout its history.
In 2012, Quirk-Silva won the seat for assemblymember, but in 2014, the Republican candidate won. In 2016, Quirk-Silva beat incumbent Young Kim to retake the 65th District by 6 percent.
Quirk-Silva said her main focus if she is re-elected is to continue improving housing for the homeless population in Orange County.
“Housing is not only unaffordable for some of our lowest income, it’s also becoming increasingly unaffordable for millennials and others. Unless we start building and start to get to yeses on our local council for projects, we’re going to continue to see people one paycheck away from homelessness,” she said.
The incumbent recently lost her brother, who had struggled with addiction, to a car accident. She said that if she won the election, one of the new issues she will focus on is improving the mental health bill.
Quirk-Silva said current programs for addiction do not do enough and create a cycle of relapsing and returning to rehab. She said she wants legislation that would require addicts to be in rehabilitation for longer if they relapse.
“It wouldn’t be a choice, it would be part of the program. I think that (my brother) and many others like him get to a point where when they feel better, they stop taking their medications and then they feel like they can handle it after two to three months, but then they go right back into the same cycle,” she said.“For a lot of it they just need more time.”
Quirk-Silva said she also wants to protect animals, and has supported legislation that protects them in the past.
She shared her optimism and excitement to potentially represent the district for another term.
“We feel good looking at the permanent absentee voting, or absentee ballots. They’re up, very close to 16 percent, we’re actually within 1 percent at this point on the permanent absentee voting, compared to 2014, where they were down by about 12 to 15. At this point, we’re really encouraged by that,” Quirk-Silva said Tuesday morning at the polling place set up in Cal State Fullerton’s Goeller Alumni House.
Her opponent Alexandria Coronado was unavailable for comment, but still has supporters in the city of Fullerton.
“I voted for Alexandria Coronado because of a diagram I saw about her stances on important issues, and I like the fact that she is a successful businesswoman,” said Erik Swenson, a Fullerton voter.
Quirk-Silva is a CSUF alumna who completed her teaching credential back in the 1980s, and said the city of Fullerton is home.
“It’s where I grew up, a Latino family of 10 on the south side of Fullerton. I can guarantee that probably 100 percent of my classmates and teachers at Fullerton Union High School would never expect that I would be a state assemblywoman,” Quirk-Silva said.