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With election, California Legislature remains a family affair

November 21, 2012 |  8:00 am

APphoto_State LegislatureIf current election results stand, the California Legislature will continue its tradition of simultaneous service by multiple members of the same family.

Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton) has a slight lead, with votes still being counted, to win the 5th Senate District, which would allow him to join his brother, Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) in the state’s upper house. Assemblywoman Beth Gaines (R-Rocklin) has won reelection in the 6th  Assembly District, while her husband, Sen. Ted Gaines (D-Rocklin), has been given another term by voters in the 1st Senate District.

And then there is the Calderon family, which now has had four members serve in the Legislature. Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon could not run for reelection because of term limits, but his son, Democrat Ian Calderon of Hacienda Heights, has won election to the 57th Assembly District. The freshman's uncle, Ron Calderon, is a state senator from Montebello.

Other legislators share the same last name but are not related, which does not lessen the confusion. There are two Hernandezes and two Perezes, but those are fairly common names.

But what are the odds of two people named Quirk being elected as freshmen legislators this year and not being related? Bill Quirk is a Hayward City Councilman and astrophysicist who is leading in the vote count for the 20th Assembly District. Hundreds of miles away, Fullerton teacher Sharon Quirk-Silva is leading in the vote count for the 65th Assembly District.

The two Democrats are used to being asked if they are related. "I wish we were related. It would make a great story,’’ Bill Quirk said in an email. "However, we are not related."

Sharon Quirk-Silva is divorced from her husband, who is named Quirk. "I am probably not related to her husband," Bill Quirk said. "My family came from Ireland to Geneseo, New York. Her former husband’s family was from Wisconsin. Quirk is a common name in Ireland and the British Isles."


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Photo:  Republican Assemblyman Bill Berryhill, pictured, is leading in the vote count to join his brother Tom in the Senate. Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.