|Member of the
California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
May 13, 2008 – March 18, 2010
|Appointed by||Karen Bass|
|Preceded by||Karen Bass|
|Succeeded by||Charles Calderon|
|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 20th district
December 6, 2004 – November 30, 2010
|Preceded by||John Dutra|
Alberto Torrico served as Majority Leader of the California State Assembly from 2008 until 2010. He was first elected to California’s State Assembly in 2004, where he served three full terms. Called a “rising voice” by the San Jose Mercury News during his first term, Alberto certainly lived up to the hype.
During his three terms in Sacramento, Alberto served as Chair of the influential Public Employee Retirement and Social Security Committee, charged with oversight of the world’s two largest pension funds, CALPERS and CALSTRS. He also chaired the Governmental Organization Committee, generally regarded as one of the Capitol’s most powerful committees, because of its oversight over alcohol, tobacco, as well as all of California’s gaming, including casinos operated by Native American tribes.
Alberto was widely recognized in Sacramento for his willingness and ability to work across the aisle. Over his six-year legislative career, Alberto authored 27 measures that were signed into law. His bills impacted a wide range of issue areas, including education, public safety, transportation, and business. Most of these bills had overwhelming bi-partisan support.
In the California Democratic primary of 2010, Alberto ran for Attorney General, placing second to eventual winner Kamala Harris. Subsequent to his campaign, he served as a member of Ms. Harris’ transition team. Alberto also served as a campaign surrogate for current Governor Jerry Brown during his successful election of 2010.
After being termed out of office, Assembly Speaker John Perez asked Alberto to continue his work in public service and appointed him to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board in January of 2011. Alberto also continues to be involved in local and statewide politics, and has been a guest on Univision’s weekly political show “Voz y Voto.”
Prior to his legislative tenure, Alberto served as a council member for three years in the East Bay community of Newark. He has been licensed to practice law continuously in California from 1995 to the present, specializing in labor and employment law. His current clients include law enforcement groups, health care organizations, and other various business interests. He is also currently “of counsel” to the prominent Sacramento lobbying firm Capitol Advocacy. Alberto and his wife Raquel have two children, Mateo and Amy-Elyzabeth and they live in West Sacramento.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Legal career
- 3 Early Public Service
- 4 Public service
- 5 Controversy
- 6 References
Early life and education
Torrico attended Irvington High School in Fremont, California where he was one of the Mission Valley Athletic League’s best soccer players. Torrico became the first member of his family to graduate from college when he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in political science from Santa Clara University. He went on to earn a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Torrico was admitted to the California State Bar in 1996. His career in public service began as a policy aide for Santa Clara County Supervisor Ron Gonzales. He specialized in labor law at Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfield in Oakland and Los Angeles, taught labor and employment law at San Jose City College, and served as senior assistant counsel at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose. In 2001, he opened a private law practice in Fremont where he worked with unions, took individual employee-rights cases and did criminal defense work, incorporations for small business, wills and trusts.
Early Public Service
An incident in law school inspired him to focus on public service and civil rights. As a volunteer at a legal clinic, he represented a Central American immigrant who had been denied more than $10,000 in overtime pay. The client wanted to settle the case for $3,000, but Torrico persuaded him to hold out and won a $10,000 settlement.
Newark City Council
Torrico was elected to the Newark City Council in 2001 and was subsequently elected by his colleagues on the City Council as the new Vice-Mayor of Newark.
California State Assembly
Torrico was elected to the California state Assembly in 2004 to succeed term-limited John Dutra. Torrico is the first legislator to join two ethnic caucuses: the Legislative Latino Caucus and the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus. In his first term 17 of his bills were signed into law, an extraordinary feat for a freshman legislator. As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement and Social Security (PERSS) he led the battle to defeat Gov. Schwarzenegger’s drive to privatize public pensions and to eliminate benefits to the widows of fallen police officers and firefighters.
In his second term Torrico was appointed Chair of the Governmental Organization Committee. Torrico was later named Director for Majority Affairs. In this role Torrico was responsible for major Democratic legislative initiatives and for Democratic Caucus development. In May 2008, Torrico was tapped by Speaker Bass to become Assembly Majority Leader. He successfully authored legislation to increase public safety by establishing statewide standards for EMT certifications, disciplinary orders and conditions of probation. Since being elected to the Assembly, Torrico has authored 47 measures that were passed by the Legislature and 32 of them were signed into law by California's Republican Governor, Schwarzenegger.
Torrico's legislative priorities in his third and final term in the assembly included passing the safe surrender bill which allows parents, within 30 days of giving birth, to safely surrender their child over to a designated safe surrender location. Other legislation ranged from good government reform bills to oil extraction fees to fund higher education.
A bill he authored, AB 656 – Fair Share for Fair Tuition – proposes to raise funds for California’s public higher education system by charging a 12.5% tax on oil extracted within California. AB 656 is estimated to raise $2 billion annually for the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems
Raquel's Kids: Providing for the Needy
In early 2006, Torrico and his wife formulated a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Raquel’s Kids. The mission statement set lofty goals to help disengaged youth and low income families sign up for healthcare and have access to computers. From 2006 through 2010, the organization paid the premiums for health insurance for over 500 children. Raquel's Kids also provided computers to schools in some of the most impoverished areas of Southern Alameda County. Once Alberto Torrico was termed out of office 2010, the organization ceased to operate. As a result, the organization did not file tax documents for three consecutive years between 2010 and 2012, leading to the automatic revocation of the organization’s exempt status with the IRS on May 15, 2013.
California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board
After Torrico left the Assembly due to term limits after his third term, Assembly Speaker John Perez appointed him to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. The Board was seen more as a soft landing spot for termed out members, like Torrico, and would pay their members to attend a few key meetings.
During his tenure in the Assembly, Torrico was criticized by the press and advocacy groups for being a non-voter (known as "taking a walk") on an important consumer protection bill that would have banned the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in products aimed at young children. Once a high-profile supporter of Senate Bill 797, Torrico refused to vote even though he was present during the roll call, after manufacturers of BPA and the products that use it spent $5 million against the bill. Torrico also did not vote on a gay marriage bill in 2005, which needed only 6 more votes to pass. Despite his work in civil rights, Torrico stated But it's all about what I think God wants for us, and I can't get around that." 
On April 13, 2013, Torrico and his wife Raquel Andrade Torrico attended the Democratic State Convention. At some point during the event, Alberto Torrico's wife, Raquel Andrade Torrico, violently attacked the aide of a fellow Assemblymember, alleging an inappropriate relationship with her husband. Torrico's wife was witnessed violently choking the aide and had to be physically restrained and led away. The incident occurred outside of the Convention Center in downtown Sacramento, CA. Torrico himself, and both of the Torrico children were present during the entire event. Several witness statements confirmed that with the help of her husband, Mrs. Torrico hunted the aide for several hours before the attack. The report states that following the incident, Torrico’s wife bragged about the assault to several delegates and elected officials.
Campaign Finance Fine
In June 2013, Torrico was charged with failing to report campaign expenditures in the amount of $465,531 during his failed 2010 run for California Attorney General. Since the amount was nearly 20% of his total campaign income, the FPPC deemed it to be substantial and an illegal violation of fair political practices. The FPPC imposed a $1000 fine on Torrico as a settlement.
- Clerk of the Assembly. "California Assembly Handbook - 2008-09". State of California. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- Perez, John A. (March 18, 2010). "Perez Names Assembly Committees". Assembly Democratic Caucus of California. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2010.
- CA State Bar Records
- "IRS Report for Raquel's Kids"
- "Nonprofit Report for Raquel's Kids"
- "Alberto Torrico named to state appeals board", San Jose Mercury News, Jan. 6, 2011.
- "On the Defeat of State Legislation to Ban Bisphenol A From Children's Food and Drink Containers", San Francisco Chronicle, July 1, 2010.
- "California gay-marriage bill fails", Boston Globe, June 3, 2005.
- Wife of Alberto Torrico Attacks Aide", East Bay Citizen, April 16, 2013
- "Two Former Lawmakers Fined", Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2013
- "Torrico Agrees to Pay Campaign Fine for Illegal Campaign Finance Reporting", East Bay Citizen, June 10, 2013
|Assemblymember, 20th District
|Assembly Majority Leader
May 13, 2008–present