Hector De La Torre

Hector De La Torre is a member of the California State Assembly for the 50th Assembly District. He is a Democrat. His district serves the cities of Bell, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Commerce, Cudahy, Downey, Lynwood, South Gate, and the unincorporated communities of Florence-Graham and Walnut Park. He was first elected in 2004, to represent the largely Latino 50th Assembly District. De La Torre grew up in South Gate and taught at Edison Junior High in South Los Angeles .

De La Torre majored in Diplomacy and World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. De La Torre and his wife, Christine, live in South Gate with their children Elinor, Henrik, and Emilia.

Early career

Prior to his election to the Assembly, he worked as Judicial Administrator with the California Superior Court in Los Angeles. He also served as legislative director for former California Congressman Richard H. Lehman (D-CA) and on the staff of Congressmember Alan Wheat (D-MO). He soon became chief of staff to the Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration.

Member of the California State Assembly

Currently, Assemblymember De La Torre serves as Chair of the Assembly Rules Committee. In addition, he serves on the following standing committees: Budget, Environmental Safety & Toxic Materials, Local Government, and Utilities & Commerce. He is one of two first-term Members to serve on the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. He was also appointed to serve on the California Cultural and Historical Endowment.

South Gate city council

De La Torre was elected to the South Gate City Council in 1997 and served until 2004, with two of those years serving as mayor. He represented the city on the Executive Board of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, where he played a key role in developing plans to improve the I-710 Freeway. He served on the Southern California Association of Governments and the League of California Cities. He served on the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Mountains and Rivers Conservancy where he supported the preservation of open space throughout the district.

As Mayor, he worked to improve relations between the city, the community, and the police department. He helped build new parks, addressed budget issues, helped to improve the transportation infrastructure, and improve senior programs and education for the city's children. In order to alleviate overcrowding, De La Torre fought for new and better school facilities. He fought for honest and effective government, and lead South Gate residents in a grassroots campaign to recall corrupt elected officials, stabilize the city’s financial condition, and rebuild public trust.

De La Torre was one of only two council members not involved in the corruption scandal which lead to the January 2003 recall of three other members of the city council, as well as the South Gate city manger.

Run for Congress

In 2002, De La Torre ran for the House of Representatives to represent California's 39th Congressional District. He came in second in a 6 person Democratic primary, losing to Linda Sanchez by a 29-33 margin.

Assembly Badge Controversy

In 2006 controversy arose after a legislative staffer for Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, D-Compton (Los Angeles County) presented a legislative badge during a DUI arrest. This was one of several badges purchased by Dymally and handed them out to family, acquaintances and donors.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles, sent a letter to Hector De La Torre, in his capacity as the chairman of the Rules Committee, asking the committee to investigate how badges with the Assembly seal had been issued.

In reaction to the call for an investigation, Dymally told the Sacramento Bee "It's nice and proper and polite to say that racism doesn't exist in American society and politics. But it exists... People have to deal with that. Why am I being singled out?” Much media attention was paid to comments directed at Hector De La Torre, however Dymally subsequently apologized in a statement to the media. The report of the Rules Committee was released on January 11, 2007 at which time Speaker Fabian Nunez placed a ban on legislators providing badges to the general public.

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