Press Releases

Monday, July 2, 2018

SACRAMENTOAssemblywoman Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) and the California State Assembly honored Santiago Bravo of the United States Army as Veteran of the Year for Assembly District 65. Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva recognized the Orange County veteran for his service in the United States Army, and his many commitments to the nation. After the tragedy of the 9/11/2001 Terrorist Attacks in New York, Santiago Bravo joined the U.S. Army in an effort to serve and support our country.

“I am honored to be the 65th Assembly District Veteran of the Year for our communities, our service members, and this great nation,” said Bravo.

“Santiago Bravo served with honor and distinction, and continues to go above and beyond with his dedication to serving the people of our Orange County community, and this great nation,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “Through his involvement in various local organizations, he has committed his life to helping others. This is why he deserves to be honored, and this is why I am happy to have him as a valued community resource, and as a friend.”

Santiago Bravo served in the US Army from 2003-2007, and earned the following honors: National Defense Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Iraqi Campaign Ribbon, and Presidential Unit Citation. During his service, he took part in the Global War on Terrorism – being deployed on two separate occasions. While deployed with the 4th Infantry Division, his Battalion took part in Operation Red Dawn, which led to the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. After leaving the military, Mr. Bravo created the nonprofit “The Sgt. Bravo Foundation. The foundation is committed to fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and traumatic brain injuries through activities such as Veteran’s Barbeques, Fishing for Therapy, and Soup for Troops. He is a member of American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach.


Photo: Photos of (left to right) Jeanette Bravo (wife), 2018 Veteran of the Year Santiago Bravo, with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Annual Ceremony Recognizes Bourbon Street Bar & Grill

SACRAMENTO – During California Small Business Day, Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) and the California State Assembly honored small business owners Lawrence Houser and Joseph Keenan. They are the founders of Bourbon Street Bar and Grill, and have been serving the thriving hospitality industry in the Fullerton area since March of 2008.

“It is my honor to highlight small businesses, like the one owned by Larry and John of Bourbon Street. The hospitality industry is one of service and entertainment, and Larry and John have embraced this ideal” said Quirk-Silva. “This Small Business of the Year is a great place to dine and spend time, but moreover, they give back to the community. By bringing awareness and resources together for a cause like Autism, they show the spirit of community by mixing philanthropy with business.”

Lawrence Houser and Joseph Keenan wanted to bring the flavors of New Orleans to the city they lived in for over 30 years. They were very well known in the community, and wanted to use their platform in the local hospitality and entertainment for the better. Owner Lawrence Houser’s son Boyd was diagnosed with autism, and Houser and Keenan changed their annual jazz fest into an event called Mardi Gras for Autism. The event attracts over 5,000 people each year, and has over 50 autism related vendors. The event takes over the entire Fullerton Train Station Parking Lot. Furthermore, they continue to partner with the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, to provide work training for students with special needs.

Attachment: Photo with Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and small business owners Lawrence Houser, his son Boyd, and business partner Joseph Keenan of Bourbon Street Bar and Grill in Fullerton, CA.


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Resolution to Honor California’s Colonel Young Oak Kim, United States Army Passes First Legislative Hurdle

(SACRAMENTO) – Assemblymember Steven Choi and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) move Assembly Concurrent Resolution 188 (ACR 188) through the State Senate Transportation Committee. ACR 188 would designate a specified portion of Interstate 5 in the County of Orange as the Colonel Young Oak Kim, United States Army, Memorial Highway. The measure would also request the California Department of Transportation to place signs along the highway showing this special designation. The cost of the signs that memorialize the Korean American Colonel will be covered by donations from non-state sources.

“I am proud to be able to honor this leader, and ask you to join me in saying thank you for the remarkable contributions made by Colonel Young Oak Kim. He holds a special place in the Korean American community of California from which he was born, and with further awareness of his deeds, more and more Americans will remember his valor and integrity” said Quirk-Silva. “This memorial will celebrate his heroic efforts in the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, and his life as a champion of human rights; serving underprivileged, and minority populations.”

Colonel Kim was born in California, and grew up in Downtown Los Angeles. During WWII, he fought with the 100th Infantry Battalion, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. He was the only non-Japanese American. He later rejoined the army to fight in the Korean War. Kim was the Asian American to command a regular U.S. combat battalion.

For his military service, Colonel Kim earned an unprecedented number of awards: Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, two Legions of Merit, Italy’s Bronze Medal of Military Valor and Military Valor Cross, France’s la Legion D’Honneur, and the Republic of Korea’s Moran Order of Military Merit.

Upon his commission as a second lieutenant in 1943, Kim was assigned to the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team. As the unit’s only Korean American, Kim was offered a transfer due to the Army’s fear of ethnic conflict exacerbated by Japanese colonial rule over Korea. But Kim refused, declaring, “There is no Japanese or Korean here. We’re all Americans and we’re fighting for the same cause.”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Alluding to the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as a land that time forgot, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) joined her Orange County Korean Assemblymember in acknowledging the newest opportunity for the two Koreas to find a peaceful end to the conflict which began nearly seventy years ago.

The Assemblywoman went on to note that, “Many decades since the armistice was signed, many other areas of the world have gone on to find peaceful solutions to their disagreements. The Koreas remain divided by a DMZ that contains more deadly land mines than many nations have populations. I have, and will always, support any substantial efforts for a lasting peace for the Korean people.”

Joining with Assemblymember Dr. Steven Choi (R – Irvine), Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva supported the call for a renewed commitment to finding a lasting peace, and an end to the painful separation of families and loved ones.

In closing, the Orange County Assemblymember stated that “In a time of sensitive relationships between these foreign powers, the United States should remain sympathetic to the concerns of South Korean families, and their relatives,” said Quirk-Silva. “I commend any diplomatic discussions between the powers of the United States, North Korea, and South Korea.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

SACRAMENTO – Today, during California Nonprofit Day, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) and the California State Assembly honored the Illumination Foundation, and CEO and President Paul Leon. Since July 2008, Illumination Foundation has worked tirelessly to break the cycle of homelessness for Southern California’s most vulnerable populations.

“Due to the efforts of the Illumination Foundation, thousands of families, and children in need, have been helped. Their record of a 78% job placement success rate shows that their dedication and devoted work for our Orange County community has been a potent force of change,” said Quirk-Silva. “It is important to honor, and officially recognize this charitable foundation and CEO Paul Leon for the positive impact they have made in our community.”

Homelessness in Southern California is staggering. More than 73,432 people are homeless in Southern California each year.  More than 32,000 children in Orange County (1 in 22) are homeless or unstably housed.  Many people don’t realize that 54% of households in OC with full-time employment live below the poverty line.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Orange County, California - Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, (D - Orange County) releases the newly completed artist rendering for the Orange County veteran cemetery master plan for the Strawberry Field site at El Toro Marine Base. The study was started after the City of Irvine originally voted to transfer 125 acres of land to the California Department of Veteran Affairs in September. Nonetheless, arguments as to the merits of this new site, over the previous ARDA site have ensued by the Irvine City Council. Construction costs are generally the same for both sites located on the El Toro Marine Base. The difference is the removal of over $30 million for the demolition, and removal of debris and pollution that came with the previous airfield construction on the ARDA site. The site at Strawberry fields will be roughly half the cost. More information on the study of the site is still forthcoming.

“It is important that people are informed of any developments that can spur public discussion, especially when it will determine a resting place for our nation’s great heroes,” said Quirk-Silva. “The new artist rendering illustrates the progress we have made. We have a vision, and if everything goes smoothly, cemetery construction could start as early as October 2018.”

The new cemetery is expected to relieve a shortage in military gravesites in Southern California. The national cemetery in Los Angeles is at capacity and the one in Riverside requires a lengthy wait. Local chapters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion have backed the strawberry field site.

For further information, including a printable high definition version of the map, visit the Assemblywoman’s website, here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

(Sacramento)Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D – Orange County) introduced Assembly Constitutional Amendment 27 (ACA 27), which checks the power of the University of California (UC) Regents and the UC President. The legislation would require greater transparency and openness in setting salaries, and how the UC system spends money.

“California taxpayers, and university families, have had enough of a bloated, autocratic UC system that is out-of-control, and unaccountable to anyone,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “We need to send a message demanding transparency, and accountability, in our publicly-funded university finances, especially as the regents consider yet another tuition increase.”

“Given their veil of financial secrecy and extravagant spending, I immediately call on the UC Regents to halt discussion of a tuition increase until the public has a better understanding of the UC system’s financial standing,” said Quirk-Silva.

ACA 27 would limit the length of regents’ terms from 12 years to 4, would prohibit compensation that exceeds $200,000 per year unless approved in a public hearing, would require the Office of the UC President to submit a yearly report on expenditures, and would limit the position of the UC President to be a non-voting member of the board. Quirk-Silva is joined by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) in authoring this proposed change to the California Constitution.

“ACA 27 declares an end to the era of appointing deep-pocket insiders to comfortable, quasi-lifetime terms,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva, noting that most regents are multi-millionaires who do not identify with the struggles of everyday Californians. “Instead, let us hold these people accountable to parents, students, and taxpayers.”

“California students and families deserve to know that state funds are being spent on UC students, and not on government bureaucracy,” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento). “Savings found at the nearly $800 million UC Administration budget means more monies to enroll qualified California students and minimizes the need to hike tuition fees. Increasing public trust through transparency and accountability of UC is critical to the success of the institution.”

“While the UC system has made progress in implementing some financial reforms, we need to take additional steps to ensure the problems don’t resurface and that funding is concentrated on students,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). “ACA 27 ends secret reserve funds, keeps spending in check and promotes accountability. When enacted, University of California will be an even greater public institution.”

ACA 27 also removes the UC president from the board of regents. In April 2017 a State Audit of the University of California, Office of the President, found that the Office of the President had "amassed substantial reserve funds, used misleading budgeting practices, provided its employees with generous salaries and atypical benefits, and failed to satisfactorily justify its spending on system wide initiatives." In May, The UC Regents will be meeting on whether to raise tuition, and the student services fee, for state residents by 2.7%, an increase of $342 to a total of $12,972 for the 2018-19 academic year.

ACA 27 will be heard next in the Assembly Higher Education Committee.