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Inventory of the John Seymour Papers, 1973-1991
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Seymour Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1973-1991
    Inventory: LP333
    Creator: Seymour, John
    Extent: 27 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: Senator John Seymour, Republican, was a California State Senator from 1982 to 1990. He represented the 35th district that included most of Orange County. The records document Senator Seymour's legislative work in the California Senate and contain bill files, 1983-1990; subject files, 1973-1990; budget files, 1985-1991; drug and alcohol abuse subject files, 1976-1990; California Maritime Academy files, 1987-1990, and correspondence, 1983-1991.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research. Use of one file concerning a student disciplinary case in the California Maritime Academy Files (LP333:528) is restricted under the Public Records Act, California Government Code, sec. 7927.700 (formerly sec. 6254 (c)).

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult California State Archives staff. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], John Seymour Papers, LP333:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition Information

    The California State Archives received a deed of gift from John Seymour.

    Processing History

    Processed by Lucy G. Barber


    Senator John Seymour, Republican, was a State Senator from 1982 to 1990. He represented the 35th district that included most of Orange County.
    Seymour was born in Chicago, Ill. on December 3, 1937. He attended the public schools in Mt. Lebanon, Penn., and later served in the United States Marine Corps, 1955-1959. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1962 with a degree in real estate and finance. After graduating, he worked in the real estate brokerage, property management, and escrow business, eventually creating his own company with his father. He served as president of California Association of Realtors, 1980. He and his wife Judy raised six children.
    He served as the president of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of the Board for Californians for Housing Coalition, and co-chairman of the Orange County Citizens for Water, and a director for the Anaheim YMCA.
    He entered electoral politics with his successful campaign to join the Anaheim city council in 1974. He continued that service until 1978 when the people of Anaheim elected him mayor. He served two terms from 1978-1982. He was elected a member of the California Senate in 1982 in special election on May 13, 1982, held because of Senator John Briggs's resignation. Seymour served in the California Senate from 1983 to 1990.
    Seymour's general effectiveness in the Senate was praised by the Los Angeles Times. In a scathing 1988 editorial, they described Sacramento as a "Fantasy Island of special interests and of elected officials who for the most part pursue the good life by night, campaign funds by day and public problems scarcely ever." In contrast, Seymour was noted for "working issues on a bipartisan basis, focusing on solving problems rather than how the solutions will look to Democrats or Republicans."
    He played a leadership role in the Senate. In 1983, he, and several other conservative members of the Republican Party, took control of the Caucus in the Senate. Although a freshman in the Senate, he became chair of Senate Republican Caucus, replacing Senator Ken Maddy. He served until 1987 when he resigned that position.
    According to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks), he served on the following committees:

    Committee Service

    • Standing Committees
    • Budget and Fiscal Review, 1985-1986, 1989-1990
    • * Vice Chair, 1985-1986, 1989-1990
    • Subcommittee #4: Legislative, Executive, Business, Transportation, Housing, and General Government, 1985-1986
    • Subcommittee #3: Health, Human Services, and Labor, 1989-1990
    • Education, 1982-1990
    • * Vice Chair, 1983-1986
    • Finance, 1983-1984
    • Subcommittee #3: Health and Welfare, 1983-1984
    • Governmental Organization, 1982
    • Housing and Urban Affairs, 1989-1990
    • Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1983-1986
    • Revenue and Taxation, 1985-1990
    • Toxics and Public Safety Management, 1987-1988
    • * Vice Chair, 1987-1988
    • Transportation, 1982-1990
    • Select Committees
    • AIDS, 1987-1990
    • Children and Youth, 1985-1990
    • Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 1985-1986
    • * Chair, 1985-1986
    • Infant Child Care and Development, 1987-1990
    • Licensed and Designated Sports, 1985-1986
    • Tourism and Aviation, 1984-1990
    • * Chair, 1984-1985
    • Substance Abuse, 1987-1990
    • * Chair, 1987-1990
    • Joint Committee
    • Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, 1985-1986
    Seymour had ambitions to serve in a statewide office. In 1987, he put his name forward to Governor Deukmejian as a possible replacement for Treasurer Jesse Unruh after his death. In 1990, he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican Party's nomination for Lieutenant Governor. Senator Seymour resigned from the California State Senate to serve in the United States Senate beginning January 7, 1991. He was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Pete Wilson upon Wilson beginning his term as California Governor. Seymour served until November 10, 1992 when he lost to the Democratic candidate, Dianne Feinstein, in a special election.
    He then returned to California where he served as the director of the California Housing Finance Agency from 1992 until January 1995. Subsequently, he moved back to Orange County and his roots in real estate. In 1996, he began serving as chief executive officer and a member of the board for the Southern California Housing Development Corporation, a non-profit affordable housing developer. He also is a consultant for Orange Coast Title. As of 2003, he continues to serve in both roles.

    Scope and Content

    The John Seymour Papers consist of 27 cubic feet representing mainly Seymour's activities during his terms in the State Senate. A few files may have come from his period as Anaheim mayor or been transferred from his predecessor, Senator John Briggs. The records contain bill files, 1983-1990; subject files, 1973-1990; budget files, 1985-1991; drug and alcohol abuse subject files, 1976-1990; California Maritime Academy files, 1987-1990, and correspondence, 1983-1991.
    The bill files provide ample evidence of Seymour's interest in improving education, transportation, housing, and the response to substance abuse. He pressed for improvements in highways and toll roads to relieve the congestion in Orange County. Some of these issues, especially transportation, came from his experience in local government. Others reflected his strong belief in improving education by setting minimum standards for all schools and increasing access to special education for students. The subject files provide documentation of Seymour's careful attention to issues of concern to his district, the state, and his political party. His attention to detail showed up in his careful use of form letters and special task forces to keep in touch with appropriate interest groups, constituents, and other elected officials. They also provide additional information on his interests in education, transportation, and housing. The budget files provide rich documentation of the difficulty of obtaining a balanced and timely budget for the state, especially in 1990. The drug and alcohol abuse subject files arise from Seymour's service on a series of Select Committees addressing drug and alcohol use in the State and resulted in a number of important bills being introduced by the Senator and others. The California Maritime Academy files are the result of a series of scandals about the management of the Academy in Vallejo. The various reports and correspondence give a strong sense of the educational and management process at this maritime training school and of the process of state investigation. The correspondence files, like the subject file, reflect Seymour's attention to concerns of his district, his constituents, and his party. Finally, all the series could help a researcher understand the dynamics of the California Republican Party between 1980 and 1990, especially the pivotal role of Orange County in that party.

    Related Collections

    Other Repositories

    The John Seymour Papers at the Anaheim Public Library, Anaheim, California include personal and congressional correspondence, press releases, voting records, recommendations, academy files, campaign files, computer diskettes of press secretary files, and administrative files from service in the U.S. Senate, 1991-1992.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been associated with these materials in the Archives' automated public access system.
    Seymour, John
    Special education - California
    Drug Abuse - California
    Transportation - Law and Legislation - California
    California Maritime Academy