Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Alfred E. Alquist Papers
Bulk Dates: 1980-1996
Collection number: MSS-1996-11-01
Alquist, Alfred E. 1908-2006
47 record cartons, 1 box, and 1 large flat file box
(48 linear feet)
San José State University. Library.
San José, California 95192-0028
Abstract: Alfred E. Alquist (Democrat) served the California State
Legislature as an Assemblyman from 1963 to 1966 and as a Senator from 1967 to 1996.
Alquist represented Assembly District 24 and Senate Districts 11 and 13.
He authored several bills on seismic safety, education, taxation, law enforcement,
and employee benefits. The collection documents Alquist's long-term political
career from 1963 to 1996. The collection also details Alquist's legislative work and
office administration, legislative files, campaign material,
correspondence, reports, office administration files, public relations, press
files, and subject files.
Physical location: Vault 1, Range 22B
Languages represented in the collection:
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the San José State University Library
Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special
Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special
Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital
reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted
to research and educational purposes.
Alfred E. Alquist papers, MSS-1996-11-01, San José State University Library
Special Collections & Archives.
Alfred E. Alquist donated his legislator records in November 1996.
EAD encoding by Veronica Cabrera, 2008.
Alfred Ernest Alquist was born August 2, 1908, in Memphis, Tennessee.
He attended Southwestern University where he earned his Bachelor's Degree
in Political Science. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army and
became a navigation and meteorology instructor for the Air-Sea Emergency
Rescue Service. Alquist worked in the railroad industry before entering
politics. In 1950, Alquist moved to San José as the yardmaster and labor
negotiator for Southern Pacific Railroad. While in this position, he served as secretary
to the General Adjustment Committee (Western States) for the Railroad
Yardmasters of North America. He married his first wife, Mai in 1934, with whom he
had one son, Alan. Mai Alquist died in 1989, and in 1993 he married Elaine
White. At the end of his eighth Senatorial term in 1996, Alquist retired
from office due to term limits. Alfred Alquist died on March 27, 2006 at
the age of 97; Elaine Alquist succeeded him in office and continues to serve in
Santa Clara County in the California State Senate.
Alquist began his political career in 1960, when he ran for the 28th
District Assembly seat but lost to incumbent Clark Bradley in the general
election, after having won the highly contested primary. In 1962, he won a
State Assembly seat in the 24th District, which included Saratoga, Campbell,
and northern San José. As an Assemblyman, Alquist focused his platform on
stopping pollution. After serving two terms, he ran for and won a State Senate
seat, a position he held from 1967 to 1996. As a State Senator, he represented
the 11th and 13th Districts, which included Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Carlos,
and Santa Clara County.
In addition to environmental issues, Alquist sponsored legislation to reform education,
employee benefits, the election process, law enforcement, conservation efforts,
and taxes. In 1969, he created the Educational Opportunities
Program and Services for disadvantaged students, which still exists today and
in 1971, Alquist pushed for open ballots for the primary elections.
In 1972, he authored the Hospital Seismic Safety Act, a law creating
the Santa Clara County Transit District. Alquist continually pushed for
better regulation of building standards for seismic safety, and in 1974,
created the state's Seismic Safety Commission. He also contributed and
helped to establish the state's landmark Energy Commission, one of the
first of its kind in the United States. His advocacy for better building
standards influenced the final design of the Alfred E. Alquist State
Building in downtown San José. Construction of the State Building became a model
for the energy efficient office building design program, and was completed
in 1980. Dedicated in August 9, 1983, the Alquist State Building, is still in use
today, and houses the offices of 22 state agencies and local politicians.
While in the state senate, Alquist chaired several state committees and commissions, including
the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, the Senate Appropriations
Committee, the Rapid Transit Select Committee, the Senate Committee on
Public Utilities, Transit and Energy, and the Little Hoover Commission.
In addition to politics, Alfred E. Alquist was an active member of several community service programs,
including the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Mayor's
Committee on Human Relations, the Santa Clara County Veteran's Employment
Committee, and the Santa Clara Valley Council for Civic Unity.
Scope and Content of Collection
This collection documents the political career
of Alfred E. Alquist, a long-term member of the California State Legislature (1963-1996.
Alquist represented Assembly District 24 and Senate Districts 11 and 13 during his
34 years of service. He retired in 1996.The collection consists of legislative files,
campaign material, correspondence, reports, office administration files,
public relations and press files, and subject files.
The collection is organized into two series. Series I: Bill Files, 1967-1996;
Series II: Office Files, 1963-1996 (bulk 1980-1996).
The following terms have been used to index the description of this
collection inthe library's online public access catalog.
Alquist, Alfred E. 1908-1996--Archives
United States--Politics and government
California--Politics and government