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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Santa Clara County, CA March 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Elaine Alquist

Candidate for
State Senator; District 13; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate

As a public school teacher, local school board member, and three-term Member of the State Assembly, Elaine Alquist has been an independent voice for the people of Santa Clara County and helped to build a brighter future for its children, seniors, women and working families.

Elaine believes we have a profound duty to educate our children, provide good jobs and housing for our workers, and take care of our seniors.

She's helped improve public schools and health care services. She's supported job-generating investments in infrastructure and economic development. She's led the fight for more housing. And she's helped expand the safety net for California's increasing senior population.

Elaine has fought tirelessly to protect the interests of the South Bay, even when that's meant taking on the special interests and political leadership in Sacramento.

Now, Elaine wants to take that fight to the California State Senate. She wants to protect and increase our investment in education + from pre-school to Ph.D. She wants to increase access to quality health care for everyone, especially children and seniors. She wants to expand the supply of affordable housing. And she wants to continue creating jobs and revitalizing our economy.

Fighting for Us in the State Assembly In 1996, Elaine Kontominas Alquist became the first Greek-American woman ever elected to the California State Legislature. Her district included Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Cupertino and San Jose. She was re-elected by huge margins in 1998 and 2000.

During her six years in the Assembly, Elaine took on many of the state's toughest challenges:

  • School reform;

  • HMO reform;

  • Children's and women's health care;

  • Senior issues and long-term care;

  • Affordable housing;

  • Tax relief;

  • Job creation, worker protection and business development;

  • Passing responsible, balanced budgets;

  • Eliminating government waste.

As a member of the Assembly Committee on Education for six years, she was a recognized leader on educational issues. She helped implement the nation's toughest educational standards, helped expand professional development for teachers, and helped increase per-pupil funding.

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, Elaine worked to put the American Dream of a college education within reach of more Californians. She co-authored the landmark expansion of the Cal-Grant program, which ensures financial assistance to every qualified student who applies. Today, it is the nation's largest college financial aid program.

Elaine also co-authored the largest statewide school bond measure in history, which will fund major school facility construction and modernization projects for K-12 and higher education.

She served as co-Vice Chair of the Joint Committee to Develop a Master Plan for Education from pre-school through graduate school. And she wrote the Graduate Education Opportunity Act, which allows workers to enjoy employer-paid graduate education without being financially penalized on tax day.

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Information Technology, Elaine was a fiscal watchdog and helped the State of California avoid wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on failed technology, such as the disastrous Statewide Automated Child Support System (SACSS).

Elaine helped establish the new Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care and was its first chair. She authored a landmark law on Osteoporosis Prevention and held women's health forums throughout the South Bay providing free osteoporosis screenings to over 500 women.

She also authored the first law ever requiring HMOs to cover the costs of Hospice Care.

Elaine also wrote the legislation that allowed for a "tax check-off" to generate funds for the California Senior Legislature, as well as groundbreaking research on Alzheimer's Disease. To date, this program has generated over $630,000 for these critical senior causes.

Elaine wrote the law that helped crime victims and cracked down on child molesters by making it easier to bring them to justice.

Elaine also created the Homebuyers Downpayment Assistance Program, which provides the critical downpayment for first-time homebuyers. She co-authored the 2002 State Housing Bond Measure, the largest in history, which allocated $290 million to the Downpayment Program.

A Love of Public Service

Elaine worked her way through college and graduate school. She earned a BA in Mathematics from MacMurray College in Illinois, becoming the first in her family to graduate from college. At 22, she went on to receive an MA in Guidance and Counseling from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating with honors.

Her love of children and public service led her to teaching in public schools, where she taught basic math, algebra and trigonometry. Later, she served on her local school board, leading the fight for high standards and better facilities.

Elaine has also owned her own small business and worked as a Financial Analyst at Stanford University.

She is married to retired State Senator Al Alquist. She has two grown sons, Peter and Bryan, and a two-year-old granddaughter, Jasmine. Elaine and Al live in Santa Clara.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: February 28, 2004 16:27
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