Senator Art Torres (Ret.), J.D.
Vice Chair of the Governing Board of CIRM
Statutory: elected pursuant to Health & Saf. Code, section 125290.20(a)(6)
Board Member
One Legacy, Transplant Donor Network, Vice Chairman of the Board

For over 40 years, Senator Art Torres (Ret.), has confronted complex issues and stood up for those without a voice.  He authored crucial bi partisan initiatives in health care, education, the environment and human rights and has served in both the private and public sectors.

He was re elected unanimously to a final term as Vice Chair of CIRM, California’s stem cell agency in 2016.  CIRM has provided more than $2.7 Billion in research funds to find cures for incurable diseases.

In 2020, he was elected to become the UC Regent Designate as of July 1, 2020 and then Regent and President of the UC Alumni Association on July 1, 2021

He serves as one of 5 members of the board of Covered California which oversees Obamacare in California, appointed to a four-year term in 2016, by the California State Senate.

He served for four years as a member and President of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, appointed by then Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2010. 

He just resigned from the board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, appointed by the late Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco to a four-year term in 2017.

He served as the longest serving state Democratic Party chair in US history between 1996 and 2009. 

He previously served twenty years in the California Legislature where he chaired the Assembly Health Committee and the Senate Insurance Committee and founded the Senate Toxics Committee.

He authored the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, known as Proposition 65, which protects our drinking water from carcinogens.  This proposition helped create the sole toxic reporting repository that helps scientists determine environmental and health impacts.  Dr. Eric Roberts called the database as a “data source that really no one else has on the planet.”

He appropriated university research funding at the height of the AIDS crisis with Dr. Marcus Conant before the severity of the epidemic was recognized.  He also advocated for insurance reimbursement for breast cancer treatments.

He also helped create the only national Japanese American museum in Little Tokyo, while also coauthoring the Museum on Tolerance both in Los Angeles. 

He led international delegations to release Vietnamese prisoners detained in “educational camps” in Hanoi, Vietnam; and, later led the first Vietnamese American delegation of Vietnamese US citizens to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city.

He also assisted Soviet Jewish refuseniks in the former Soviet Union in 1987.

In 1989, he assisted in drafting Pope John Paul II’s environmental message along with Nobel laureates who presented their message to the Holy Father before his delivery in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on New Year’s Day 1990.

He also served as a German Marshall Fund Fellow.

He was also appointed by the US Senate by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the Commission on International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development, which led to the last immigration reform law in 1986 signed by President Reagan.

Torres also served as the President of the Kaitz Foundation, dedicated to increasing diversity in the cable television industry with a board composed of all the top CEOs in the cable television industry.

Torres currently serves as the Vice Chair of the One Legacy Foundation, the largest organ transplant foundation in the US, headquartered in Los Angeles.

Torres holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz and a Juris Doctorate degree from the UC Davis School of Law.

He also served as a John F. Kennedy teaching fellow at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government.

He also recently served as the University of San Francisco Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor.

He is married to Gonzalo Escudero and has two children Joaquin Torres, a Stanford (BA) and NYU (Masters) graduate who serves as the Director of Office of Economic and Workforce Development for the city and county of San Francisco.  He is married to actress Ruibo Qian.

His daughter Danielle attended two years at Porter College at UCSC and then transferred to USC to graduate with a BS in the Music Industry from the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Thornton School of Music.  She is currently a third-year law student at UC Hastings School of Law.