LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
Full Biography for Elaine Alquist
Elaine Alquist, mother, educator and businesswoman, is the California State Assemblymember for the 22nd Assembly District in Santa Clara County--the Silicon Valley Assembly District covering Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, west San Jose and small portions of Palo Alto, Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga and Campbell.
Raised in a Greek immigrant family, Elaine earned a BA in mathematics from MacMurray College in Illinois, where she would later be honored as Distinguished Alumna of the Year. At the age of 22, she received an MA in Guidance and Counseling from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she graduated with honors.
An activist in Silicon Valley and its schools for over two decades, Elaine Kontominas White Alquist raised a family, worked as a financial and computer analyst at Stanford University, served as Director of Fund Development for the Career Action Center, and co-founded a small business providing consulting and marketing services to Bay Area companies.
In 1983, Elaine was elected to the Cupertino School Board where she served for the following eight years. In 1986 and 1990, Elaine's leadership abilities were recognized by her colleagues with her election to president of the board. Elaine spearheaded the district's Disaster Preparedness Plan and, working with her colleagues, developed the district's first Strategic Long Range Plan: 1986-2000 for the district's 12,000 students who lived in Cupertino and parts of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, San Jose, Los Altos and Saratoga.
Elaine Kontominas White Alquist became the first Greek American woman elected to the California State Legislature in November 1996. The 22nd Assembly District has a registration of 47% Democrat and 33% Republican and its population has the highest level of education in California. Elaine, the Democratic candidate, won with 61% of the votes cast in the district (25 percentage points higher than her main opponent).
In November 1998, Elaine Alquist was re-elected to the California State Assembly with 63.9% of the votes cast, receiving more than twice the number of votes cast for her main opponent.
Elected co-president of the freshman class, Assemblymember Alquist's colleagues in the Legislature called her one of the most productive and industrious members of the California Assembly. In her first term, Assemblymember Alquist was among the top ten Assemblymembers (out of 80) having the most bills signed by Governor Wilson. At the end of the 1999 legislative session, Governor Davis had signed all 11 of her bills to reach his desk.
As Chair of the Assembly Information Technology Committee, Elaine received kudos for exposing and putting an end to expensive government waste in the troubled Statewide Automated Child Support System. With Senators Kopp and Vasconcellos, she co-chaired over ten hearings to help ensure that the state's technology systems would be Y2K compliant.
As Chair of the Assembly's Committee on Aging & Long Term Care, Elaine works to create laws to enhance our seniors' quality of life. She authored the California Osteoporosis Prevention and Education Act, a landmark law allocating $500,000 to combat a disease affecting five million Californians. Elaine joint authored the major reform legislation on nursing home reform, was the principal co-author of legislation to combat breast cancer, and authored legislation requiring nursing homes to list documented violations on the Internet.
Elaine has made it a priority to fight for improved health care of all Californians as joint author of the Healthy Families legislation that extended health coverage for California's uninsured children. To ensure that people enrolled in HMOs have the right to choose their own doctor and receive quality care, she co-authored major HMO reform legislation.
Elaine`s legislation supports both working families and the high-tech community through public education reform, incentives for workforce and economic development and safe environments for our schools, communities and workplaces. As a former high school math teacher, guidance counselor, school board member, and member of the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Elaine is recognized in the legislature as an expert on education policy. She has dedicated herself to improving student's math skills, and authored legislation that provided $28 million for staff development of mathematics teachers over the last two fiscal years. Elaine's legislation has strengthened parental involvement in our schools and drastically reduced the bad practice of social promotion (joint author). Currently, she is working on legislation to improve the funding for California's students and to provide tax incentives for workforce preparation and life-long learning through her benchmark Graduate Education Opportunity Act legislation.
In addition to chairing the Committee on Aging & Long Term Care, and serving on the Education Committee, the Information Technology Committee, the Banking & Finance Committee, the Revenue & Taxation Committee, the Select Committee on the Aerospace Industry, the Select Committee on the Jobs and Housing Balance, and the Select Committee on Earthquake Safety and Preparedness, she is the Assembly's representative to the State Seismic Safety Commission, and previously served on the Natural Resources Committee, the Consumer Protection, Governmental Efficiency & Economic Development Committee, and the Select Committee on Education Technology.
In 1998, Elaine was acknowledged for commitment and leadership toward year 2000 solutions by the California Association of Local/State Chief Information Officers, recognized by the International Who's Who of Professional and Business Women, and named a High Tech Legislator of the Year by the American Electronics Association. The Council of State Governments (CSG) has also recognized her leadership electing her Vice-Chair of CSG-West (a regional organization of legislators from the Western States) and granting her a prestigious Toll Fellowship.
Elaine is the proud Greek mother of grown sons Peter and Bryan White and the proud mother-in-law of Anju Chowdhry White, married to son Peter. Early in 1993 she married State Senator Al Alquist (now retired). They live in the city of Santa Clara.
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