Norma Torres
Norma Torres
Candidate, U.S. House California District 35
Democrat
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911 Dispatcher 1990-2008
Norma started her career as a 911 dispatcher for LAPD, serving the community for 17 years. She often worked the graveyard shift, sitting four floors below ground, taking calls every day from people from all walks of life, often in their most vulnerable moments. After a particularly tragic 911 call, Norma worked with the Los Angeles City Council to improve access to emergency services. As a result, Norma led the successful fight to recruit and hire more bilingual operators and to ensure that bilingual operators were on call for every work shift, she improved training for all dispatchers, secured a $350,000.00 grant to upgrade the computer system and founded the Community Outreach Program to teach the general public how to properly use the 9-1-1 emergency system.
City Council Member 2000-2006
While working at the 911 dispatch center, Norma was an active member of AFSCME which challenged its members to become more involved and run for local office. She rose to the challenge, and unseated a long-time incumbent for City Council in Pomona who had long stopped being responsive to the needs of the community. As a City Councilmember, Norma led many initiatives to improve the quality of life in Pomona and combat crime, including the Neighbors for Pomona Committee, which was dedicated to reducing crime and graffiti in the community.
Mayor of Pomona 2006-2008
Norma was sworn in as the first Latina Mayor of Pomona in February 2006 after winning an 11 way primary for the seat. As the Mayor of Pomona, Norma continued to fight to keep Pomona safe by imposing gang injunctions limiting gang member activities which substantially reduced the severity of Pomona’s gang violence problem. In 2008, she was selected to serve as the Treasurer of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
Norma was born in Guatemala, but moved to the United States because of instability in the country. Norma has been an honored guest in Guatemala, where she toured the country, met with Heads-of-State, and received the country’s highest honor—the Order of the Great Congress of Guatemala, in the rank of Knight.
Serving as the Assemblywoman representing California’s 61st district, Norma served as the Chair of the Committee on Housing and Community Development at a time when the recession and housing crisis had left thousands of families struggling financially. In response to the crisis, she successfully led an effort to secure $2 billion in federal funds for the “Keep Your Home California” program. The Keep Your Home California Program helped nearly 100,000 families stay in their homes and kept them from becoming homeless. Norma also helped pass the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights to protect consumers from foreclosure and worked to make it easier for returning veterans to purchase homes.
After winning a hard fought special election for the California State Senate, Norma represented California’s 32nd District where she fought to create jobs in the Inland Empire at a time when families were still recovering from the recession. She advocated for job training programs, access to higher education, and other tools to improve the skills people need to get better paying jobs. She also strongly advocated for services and programs to help families transition out of the recession, keep their homes and ensure quality education is available for our children.
Member of Congress
2015-Present
As the Congresswoman representing California’s 35th district, Norma has been an advocate for the working families of the Inland Empire. Norma is a member of the Powerful House Committee on Rules, one of the most powerful Committees in Congress, where her top priority is to fight for legislation important to the Inland Empire. On this Committee, she has advocated and secured improvements for our communities for housing, transportation, national security, protecting fair elections, and job creation. She has also introduced legislation to spur investment in our infrastructure and direct resources to training facilities for local law enforcement agencies. Norma was instrumental in achieving local control for the Ontario Airport, which has seen the airport grow by 10% in the past year.
Norma also sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee where she has become a leader on Western Hemisphere policy. During her time on the Committee she has successfully passed legislation to root out corruption in foreign governments, while supporting fair elections and open and free democracies. She is actively working to pass comprehensive immigration reform while addressing the root causes of immigration by supporting the development of neighboring countries. She is strongly opposed to barbaric practice of family separations at our nation’s southern border and continues to hold the Administration accountable for the damage they have done to families.
In January 2016, Norma was invited by Vice President Biden to represent Congress and join him at the swearing in of the new President of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales. She also delivered remarks to a plenary session of the Guatemalan Congress. Prior to the swearing-in, Norma founded the bipartisan Congressional Central America Caucus which focuses on the root causes of instability in Central America and in particular, the Northern Triangle countries, supporting a strategy of governance, security, and prosperity in the region.
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