Tom Torlakson

Last updated
Tom Torlakson
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.jpg
27th California Superintendent of Public Instruction
In office
January 3, 2011 January 7, 2019
Governor Jerry Brown
Preceded by Jack O'Connell
Succeeded by Tony Thurmond
Member of the California Senate
from the 7th district
In office
December 2000 December 2008
Preceded by Richard Rainey
Succeeded by Mark DeSaulnier
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 11th district
In office
December 2008 December 2010
Preceded by Mark DeSaulnier
Succeeded by Susan Bonilla
In office
December 1996 December 2000
Preceded by Bob Campbell
Succeeded by Joe Canciamilla
Personal details
Born (1949-07-19) July 19, 1949 (age 71)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)
Mae Cendana
(m. 2009)
Education University of California, Berkeley (BA, MA)
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch/serviceFlag of the United States Marine Corps.svg  United States Marine Corps
Years of service1967–1971
Unit United States Merchant Marine
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Thomas A. Torlakson (born July 19, 1949) is an American politician from California. In 2010, he was elected to the position of California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a position he served in until 2019. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Contents

He previously served three terms in the California State Assembly, representing the 11th district, which consists of northern portions of Contra Costa County. He also served two terms in the California State Senate, representing the 7th district.

Early life

His younger brother, James Torlakson, is an artist in San Francisco, California. Another younger brother (Christopher Torlakson) is deceased. Torlakson attended Westmoor High School in Daly City, California. On May 25, 2017, Torlakson issued the commencement address where he graduated from 50 years ago.

Torlakson served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during the Vietnam War from 1967 to 1970. His assignments included Guam, Vietnam, Thailand and later on Chevron oil tankers to Alaska which was his first job where he was a union member. In 1968, he received the Merchant Marines Vietnam Service Medal. After his maritime service, Torlakson attended the University of California, Berkeley. He earned a B.A. in History in 1971, and an M.A. in Education in 1977. Torlakson is married to Mae Cendana, a member of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District board of directors. [1] He has two daughters, Tiffany and Tamara, [2] from a previous marriage.

First two State Assembly terms

In 1996 Torlakson, then a Contra Costa County Supervisor, ran for the California State Assembly seat of term-limited Bob Campbell (D-Richmond). He defeated George Miller IV, son of veteran congressman George Miller III, in the Democratic primary. Torlakson campaigned with the slogan, "His own name, his own record." [3] He was easily reelected in 1998.

State Senate

In 2000 Torlakson won an expensive, hard fought campaign to unseat Republican state Senator Richard Rainey (R-Walnut Creek) by 12%. While serving in the State Senate, Torlakson was appointed to chair the important Senate Appropriations Committee. [3]

State Superintendent

Torlakson at the 2011 Democratic Party of California state convention Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson (5671447830) (cropped).jpg
Torlakson at the 2011 Democratic Party of California state convention

Torlakson ran for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 2010 elections, defeating Larry Aceves in the general election held on November 2, 2010. Torlakson replaced Jack O'Connell, who was termed out of office. He was re-elected in 2014 against Marshall Tuck. [4]

As Superintendent, Torlakson was eighth in the line of succession to the office of Governor of California. On Monday, July 25, 2016, Governor Jerry Brown; Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom; Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León; Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon; Secretary of State Alex Padilla; then Attorney General Kamala Harris; Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones; and Board of Equalization chair Fiona Ma were all out of state attending the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, leaving Torlakson Acting Governor. [5] [6] As Acting Governor, Torlakson proclaimed a state of emergency for the Sand Fire in Los Angeles County and the Soberanes Fire in Monterey County. [7]

Electoral history

California State Assembly 11th District Democratic Primary Election, 1996
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson23,68951.02
DemocraticGeorge Miller22,74648.98
California State Assembly 11th District Election, 1996
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson81,82060.02
RepublicanBill Maxfield42,13730.91
Natural LawEleanor Sheppard12,3759.06
California State Assembly 11th District Election, 1998
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson (inc.)80,32369.02
RepublicanAllen Payton36,04630.98
California State Senate 7th District Election, 2000
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson197,68354.5
RepublicanDick Rainey156,10743.0
Natural LawMark Billings9,3342.5
California State Senate 7th District Election, 2004
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson (inc.)282,714100.0
California State Assembly 11th District Election, 2008
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticTom Torlakson117,77373.8
RepublicanElizabeth Hansen42,02326.2
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Primary Election, 2010
PartyCandidateVotes%
NonpartisanLarry Aceves832,93819.2
NonpartisanTom Torlakson808,97018.6
NonpartisanGloria Romero738,03217.0
NonpartisanLydia Gutierrez384,5148.9
NonpartisanGrant McMicken309,4997.2
NonpartisanKaren Blake299,4926.9
NonpartisanDiane Lenning270,5706.2
NonpartisanDaniel Nusbaum217,2204.9
NonpartisanAlexia Deligianni212,1454.8
NonpartisanLeonard James Martin123,7912.8
NonpartisanHenry Williams, Jr.125,2832.8
NonpartisanFaarax Dahir Sheikh-Noor33,5860.7
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Election, 2010
PartyCandidateVotes%
NonpartisanTom Torlakson4,222,94654.6
NonpartisanLarry Aceves3,476,24344.9
Nonpartisan/Write-inDiane Lenning46,0610.5
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Primary Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
NonpartisanTom Torlakson (inc.)1,767,25746.5
NonpartisanMarshall Tuck1,098,44128.9
NonpartisanLydia Gutiérrez931,71924.5
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
NonpartisanTom Torlakson (inc.)3,167,21252.1
NonpartisanMarshall Tuck2,906,98947.9

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References

  1. "Tom Torlakson - Biographies (CA Dept of Education)". www.cde.ca.gov. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  2. "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  3. 1 2 TomTorlakson.com Archived November 8, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  4. Blume, Howard (November 5, 2014). "Marshall Tuck concedes to Tom Torlakson in state schools chief race". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  5. "Tom Torlakson takes charge of California with top six leaders gone". San Jose Mercury News. July 31, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
  6. Myers, John (July 25, 2016). "Who's governor of California? This week, it's not Jerry Brown". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 1, 2016.
  7. "Acting Governor Torlakson Declares State of Emergency in Los Angeles and Monterey Counties". Office of the Governor. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 31, 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jack O'Connell
California Superintendent of Public Instruction
2011–2019
Succeeded by
Tony Thurmond