Art Torres: Prominent state leader

May 24, 2011

By Andrea Cohen 

Art Torres

1968 Stevenson College, politics graduate who has dedicated more than three decades to a career in public-service, Art Torres currently serves as vice chair on the governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), which oversees the allocation of $3 billion to California universities and research institutions for stem cell research.

Torres has distinguished himself by tackling complex policy issues and standing up for those without a voice. Torres served for 20 years in the California State Legislature, eight as a member of the assembly and 12 as a state senator. He also chaired the state's Democratic Party from 1996 to 2009.

Torres is known for leadership in bipartisan initiatives addressing health care, education, the environment, and human rights. He co-authored the California Clean Water Act (Proposition 65) and also fought against pesticide poisoning and exposure to toxic chemicals and asbestos. His dedication to preventing pesticide poisoning comes in part from his work in the 1970s with the United Farm Workers Union. Torres credits his UC Santa Cruz education with, among other things, "helping me to become an independent thinker."

Torres received the 1988-89 Alumni Achievement Award.

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