Congresswoman Norma J. Torres represents California's 35th congressional district which includes Bloomington, Chino, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, and Rialto. She previously served as a State Senator, Assembly Member, and as a Mayor and Council Member in the City of Pomona. Throughout her career in elected office, Norma Torres has worked to make government more responsive to the needs of Inland Empire residents.
As a State Senator, Torres played a significant role in making the Affordable Care Act work for California’s patients and consumers. She led efforts to increase access to care and improve the quality of care in underserved areas. Her law to diversify the Covered California Board so that it is better prepared to enroll the uninsured earned her statewide recognition and national attention. She also championed a law to generate more revenue for programs that train and place doctors in medically underserved communities. Understanding that our healthcare system often results in many prescription drug patients paying more for treatments than is necessary, Torres passed a consumer protection law that requires health insurance companies to be more transparent in the way they present information about prescription drugs covered by their plans.
During her time in the Legislature, Norma Torres also led efforts to provide financial assistance to millions of California families negatively impacted by the great recession. As Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development, she led an effort that secured $2 billion in federal funds for the “Keep Your Home California” program which helped thousands of families keep their homes during the foreclosure crisis. She also passed the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights and authored legislation to accelerate the construction of affordable housing, help delinquent homeowners refinance their second mortgages, and make it easier for returning veterans to purchase homes.
Fighting crime and making sure the public safety system is responsive to the needs of the community has been a lifelong priority for Torres. As a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, she drew on her expertise to write a law that modernized our 9-1-1 system—resulting in a system that now routes cell phone callers to their local police department, rather than a statewide hotline, during an emergency. Torres also authored legislation to help prevent metal theft, keep drivers under the influence of drugs off our roads and highways, stop peeping toms from exploiting victims, and to raise fines on criminals who tamper with online data. In response to a wave of corruption in local and state government in 2013, Torres championed anti-corruption laws that will make it easier for prosecutors to convict elected officials and individuals who receive bribes or engage in other acts of public corruption.
Since coming to Congress, Torres has worked to make sure Washington is responsive to the needs of Inland Empire residents. At the beginning of her term she launched a Job Creation Listening Tour where she met with over 200 business owners, employees, education professionals, and local economic leaders to hear straight from the community how best to foster economic growth and create jobs in the Inland Empire. Upon completion of the tour, she released a report detailing her recommendations titled “A Roadmap to Economic Resilience in the Inland Empire” and has since introduced two pieces of legislation, the Regional Infrastructure Accelerator Act and the JOBS Act, based on those recommendations.
Torres immigrated to the United States from Guatemala at age five and is a longtime resident of the Inland Empire. She resides in Pomona with her husband Louis, and their sons Robert and Matthew. A proud supporter of the US military, her third son, Christopher, is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Torres received her bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies from the National Labor College in Silver Springs, Maryland.