Jim Santini Papers

Identifier: 82-61

Scope and Contents

The papers cover James Santini's term as Nevada's Representative to the U. S. Congress, 1974-1982. While a member of the House of Representatives Santini served on the Energy and Commerce Committee (Commerce, Transportation and Tourism, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees); Interior and Insular Affairs Committee (Mines and Mining [Chairman], and Public Lands and National Parks Subcommittees); and Select Committee on Aging (Housing and Consumer Interests Subcommittee). This collection reflects the Congressman's work on those committees.

The James Santini Papers are arranged as an inventory of each box down to the folder level.

These papers arrived at the Special Collections Department in 307 unnumbered boxes. The collection was stored at an off-site facility; that plus the great bulk of the collection and limited work space in the Department resulted in the following work plan. Groups of thirty to forty boxes were brought into the Library where a preliminary survey of the contents was conducted and boxes which seemed related in contents were grouped together. Then all boxes were numbered and inventories complied. Those boxes were then returned to their off-site storage and another set of boxes brought to the Department, where the process was repeated. The result is an inventory which is somewhat difficult to use, since the original office order is broken up; one file drawer of cabinet "A" may be in box 10, while the next drawer of the same cabinet is in box 105. Nevertheless, since the inventory was prepared at the folder level, access to a particular topic should be possible through complete perusal of this guide.


  • 1974-1982



Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Biographical Note

James David Santini was born in Reno, Nevada on August 13, 1937. He graduated from Manogue High School in Reno in 1955 and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1959. He went on to receive his J.D. from the Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, California in 1962. Santini was admitted to the Nevada bar in 1962 and began practicing law in Las Vegas. He served in the U. S. Army from 1963-1966. He was deputy district attorney in Clark County, Nevada, 1966-1968 and a public defender in Clark County from 1968-1970. Santini went on to serve as justice of the peace in Las Vegas (1970-1972) and a district court judge in Clark County (1972-1974).

Santini was elected to the U. S. Congress as Nevada’s sole representative in 1974. A Democrat, he went on to be re-elected three more times and served until January 3, 1983. While a member of the House of Representatives, Santini served on the Energy and Commerce Committee (subcommittees: Commerce, Transportation and Tourism, and Oversight and Investigations); Interior and Insular Affairs (subcommittees: Mines and Mining [Chairman] and Public Lands and National Parks); and Select Committee on Aging (subcommittee: Housing and Consumer Interests). He was co-founder and chair of the 287 member Democratic/Republican Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus and he was a House leader in the 1981 passage of the Travel and Tourism Policy Act. Another significant piece of legislation sponsored by Santini was the Santini-Burton Act (PL 96-586) passed in 1980. Co-sponsored with California Representative Phillip Burton, the act authorized the U. S. Forest Service to acquire, by purchase and donation, sensitive lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin with receipts from the sale of surplus Federal land in the Las Vegas area.

In 1982, increased population in Nevada led to reapportionment that created an additional Congressional seat. Instead of running for a fifth term as Representative, Santini was an unsuccessful candidate for Senate in 1982. He ran for Senate again in 1986 as a Republican and lost to Democrat Harry Reid.

After his political career, Santini returned to private practice for a short time before returning to the Washington, D. C. area, where he created a firm, Santini Chartered, that represents the interests of the travel and tourism industry. Since 1988, Santini has served as a presidential appointed member of the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Board of Trustees.


200 Cubic Feet (307 boxes)

Language of Materials



James David Santini's papers as Representative to the U.S. Congress from Nevada include files related to his committee assignments and interests, particularly on the Energy and Commerce Committee; Interior and Insular Affairs Committee; and Select Committee on Aging. Campaign files are included. Material from 1974-1982.


Arranged at the folder level by box inventory.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Congressional papers of Jim Santini were donated by Congressman Santini to the Special Collections Department in 1983 and 1984.


Guide to the Papers of James Santini
Susan Searcy
September 10, 1990
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)