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.
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.