For over 40 years, Senator Art Torres (Ret.), has confronted complex issues and stood up for those without a voice. He has authored crucial initiatives in health care, education, the environment, human rights and has served in both the private and public sectors.
He was unanimously reelected 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. The voters approved an additional $5.5 Billion in research funds in 2020.
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 and was appointed to a second four-year term in 2020, 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 created the Senate Toxics Committee and served as its first Chair.
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 in 1982, with Dr. Marcus Conant before the severity of the epidemic was recognized. He also advocated for insurance reimbursement for breast cancer treatments.
He helped create with legislation the only national Japanese American museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. He co-authored the legislation that created the Museum on Tolerance in Los Angeles.
He led international delegations in 1989 to release Vietnamese prisoners detained in “educational camps” in Hanoi, Vietnam. He later led the first Vietnamese American delegation of Vietnamese US citizens to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city.
He assisted Soviet Jewish refuseniks under religious persecution to escape from the former Soviet Union in 1987.
In 1989, he assisted in drafting Pope John Paul II’s environmental message along with forty Nobel laureates who later presented their message to the Holy Father before his delivery of it in St. Peter’s Square in Rome on New Year’s Day 1990.
He served as a German Marshall Fund Fellow, producing a paper on immigration issues in Western Europe.
He was approved by the US Senate after nomination by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the Commission on International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development, whose work led to the last immigration reform law in 1986 signed by President Reagan.
Torres served as the President of the Kaitz Foundation in 2000, 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. He has been on the board since 1996.
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 Institute of Politics in 1973.
In 2016, he was appointed by the University of San Francisco as its Diversity Scholar Visiting Professor teaching in the Nursing Graduate program.
He is married to Gonzalo Escudero. His son, Joaquin Torres, is a Stanford (BA) and New York University (Masters) graduate who was recently appointed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed to the city-wide elected position of San Francisco City and County Assessor Recorder. He is married to actress Ruibo Qian, who holds a BA from Boston University and a Masters from New York University.
His daughter Danielle has a Joint BS degree from the USC Marshall School of Business and the USC Thornton School of Music. She is completing her final third year at the University of California Hastings School of Law in San Francisco.