(Oct. 7) If it's true that all politics is local, then Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, boasts some serious homegrown political cred.
Before winning elected office, Quirk-Silva drew government paychecks as a 27-year veteran of the public school system. And in addition to spending her entire teaching career in the Fullerton School District, she put in some time at Fullerton's Richman Elementary -- the same school she had attended as a little girl.
It helped "for me being able to really understand a community, understand some of the families that I had gone to school with who were still there," Quirk-Silva said. "I actually really miss it, to be honest."
Tragedy thrust Sharon Quirk-Silva into a leadership role in 2011, when the Fullerton City Council elevated her to mayor under a rotating system as the city weathered the fallout after a mentally ill homeless man died following a police beating. Quirk-Silva had served as mayor before, but that time, she said, was different.
"It was an awakening," Quirk-Silva said. "It was something that was so shocking and traumatic that I think Fullerton really changed for the long term, looking at some kind of connection with our police officers, what are we doing as a community for homelessness and mental health."
The 2013-2014 Legislature features the largest freshman class in decades. In this recurring series, Insider Edition helps get you acquainted with the influx of newcomers.