Candidate for Insurance Commissioner, 1994

Senator Art Torres, former Chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee, now Chairman of the Select Committee on Insurance Reform, is known throughout California as a watchdog for crime victims, consumers and business, and an independent crusader for reform in government, education, insurance and the environment. He is respected as one of the Legislature's hardest workers and most articulate orators.

As Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, Torres fought to keep insurance rates down and improve claims handling:

Torres led a crackdown on unscrupulous offshore and out of state insurance companies who collected premiums and left homeowners, drivers and businesses holding the bag when claims were filed.

Torres has fought for access to health insurance for all Californians.He is the author of the State laws on health insurance protection for seniors.

Torres is working with District Attorneys to fight insurance fraud which adds 25% to the cost of our insurance. His SB 1833 will make it easier to bust insurance cheaters, and take the profit out of auto theft.

This year, Torres will pass legislation to give businesses a seat on the important Worker's Compensation Rating Board to ensure that business needs are taken into account when rates are set.

Responding to California earthquakes and fires that have left homes destroyed Torres is the author of the California Homeowner's Bill of Rights to protect fire and earthquake victims.

A nationally recognized leader in health care reform, Torres' Medi-Cal Reform Act saved taxpayers millions. Torres made California the first state in the nation to use a universal health insurance claim form that will save business and consumers $100 million dollars.

Art Torres is also credited with making government more accessible and responsive to California voters. Torres pioneered the use of interactive television and information systems to open the state Senate up to the public. Torres held America's first Interactive Legislative Hearing where citizens watching at home can
participate live via an 800 number. He put legislative briefing papers on Internet and CompuServe.

Senator Torres has an equally impressive record on business, education and crime.

As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on the Pacific Rim, Torres has championed California business and trade. To attract investment and expand jobs, Torres proposed a state financing authority to issue revenue bonds, and finance infrastructure project and local economic development.

Senator Torres authored California's landmark Dropout Prevention and Recovery Act which has reduced the state's school dropout rate. He led the fight to keep student fees down and to cut wasteful spending on U.C. campuses.

A supporter of the death penalty, Torres voted for Three Strikes legislation, and supports One Strike For Rapists. In 1987, Torres made California the first state in the nation to allow children victims of sexual abuse to testify via closed circuit television.

Art Torres was born and raised in East Los Angeles, he attended public schools and graduated from U.C. Santa Cruz, B.A., and earned his law degree from U.C. Davis. He served as a John F. Kennedy Fellow at Harvard prior to his election to the State Assembly in 1974. Elected to the Senate in 1982, Torres represents California's most economically and culturally diverse district encompassing Downtown, East and Northeast Los Angeles, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Monterey Park, and the San Gabriel Valley. Torres is the proud Father of Joaquin, 18 and Danielle who is 13.

Home: Los Angeles
Education: East L.A. College (A.A.), U.C. Santa Cruz (B.A.),
U.C. Davis (J.D.)
Profession: Legislator
Began Service: 1982, re-elected 1986, 1990
Prior Service: Assemblyman, 1974-1982
Committees: Select Committee on Insurance Reform [Chair], Pacific
Rim [Chair], Education, Appropriations, Transportation,
Governmental Organization, Toxics and Public Safety, Judiciary.


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The material included in this voter guide is archived and will not be updated. Please visit the California Voter Foundation's homepage for the most current information and resources.

California Voter Foundation 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 & 1998