Five-term East Bay Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) will not seek re-election, he announced last week.
Instead, he is going to serve as a full-time bridge between the research community and regulators and the State Legislature, he said in a letter Thursday to constituents, supporters and colleagues.
Quirk, who earned a doctoral degree in astrophysics from Columbia University, has served as a climate scientist with NASA and worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory before his election to the Assembly.
"The greatest challenge the State of California now faces is the implementation of our greenhouse gas reduction goals and ameliorating the impacts of the Climate Crisis; I want to play a key role in accomplishing those goals," Quirk said in the letter.
"In meeting our climate goals, time matters, now more than ever," Quirk said.
He has big plans for his last year in office.
"I look forward to protecting the environment in my role as chair of the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee," he said.
He's also looking forward to improving "California's environmental safety, streamlining regulations particularly in the cannabis industry, improving public access to state agencies proceedings, and criminal justice reform," he said.
During his nine years on the Public Safety Committee, the state has "made great progress on police accountability and sentencing reform," Quirk said.
He said he will continue to work to improve reforms in the regulation of cannabis, "so the legal industry will be able to out-compete the black market."
He also plans to work to provide people with "greater access to meetings of state agencies, so people from around the state can comment on how regulations are developed without having to travel to Sacramento and other locations."
"Your intellect and common sense have brought real balance to the Assembly," Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said on Twitter after Quirk's announcement. "I admire that you have always been true to your beliefs."