Title: Arnold Torres Papers
Collection number: MS 272
University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
Shelf location: For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Arnold Torres Papers, MS 272, Holt-Atherton Department of
Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library
Arnold (Arnoldo) Torres is a political activist especially concerned with issues
important to Hispanics. The materials in this collection describe his education and
subsequent work as a congressional aide, lobbyist and political consultant.
Torres (b. 1954) was raised in Sacramento, Calif. by his maternal grandparents, Mr. and
Mrs. G. Sanchez. He has given these papers to Holt Atherton Special Collections in their
Arnold began working in the fields at age ten while attending local public schools.
Following graduation from Sacramento High School (1971), he received a B.A. in Political
Science & Inter-American Affairs from the University of the Pacific's Spanish-language
Covell College (1975) and an M.A. in Public Admini-stration and Urban Affairs from
American University in Washington D.C.
Arnold Torres learned Washington politics while working on the staffs of a variety of
officials and organizations between 1975 and 1977. He began as an intern with Congressman
Fortney "Pete" Stark [D-Calif.] (Summer 1975) and was subsequently a legislative aide for
Senator John V. Tunney [D-Calif.] (September 1975-January 1977). From January (1977)
through May Torres was legislative assistant for the National Congress of Hispanic
American Citizens, while between May and September he worked as Assistant for Public
Affairs of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
In September 1977 Torres returned to Sacramento where he became Assistant Administrative
Analyst for the Office of Legislative Analyst, California Legislature. In this role he
made budget and policy recommendations to the legislature pertaining to the Departments
of Employment Development and Aging (1977-1979).
In September 1979 the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) opened a
Washington D.C. office and Arnold Torres was recruited to serve as LULAC's Congressional
Liaison. LULAC is the country's oldest and largest Hispanic organization with over
100,000 members in forty-five states. It had traditionally been a quiet, conservative
group representing the Hispanic middle-class, but, during the late 1970s under the
National Presidency of two Texas attorneys, Ruben and Tony Bonilla, LULAC became both
broader-based in its social concerns and more aggressive in its efforts to influence
legislation favorable to Hispanic Americans. Arnold Torres was hired to develop and
implement the Bonilla agenda in Washington.
As Congressional Liaison, Torres researched legislation, wrote LULAC position papers and
press releases, testified at Con-gressional hearings and discussed LULAC positions with
Congressmen and representatives of other political action committees.
In 1981 Tony Bonilla made Arnold Torres National Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist of
LULAC. In this role he appeared as spokesman for LULAC in public debate, at conferences
and on various national television programs. Issues of particular concern to Torres
included immigration, affirmative action, civil rights, police/community relations, and
US involvement in Central America. Torres was outspoken in his criticism of Reagan
administration budget cuts and policies that hurt Hispanic Americans.
When Bonilla stepped down as National President (1984) he was replaced by the more
conservative Mario Obledo. At this time conservatives within LULAC began calling for
Torres' ouster. They felt that his reputation with the newly re-elected,
ultra-conservative Reagan administration as an aggressive liberal would render him an
ineffectual spokesman for Hispanics. Frustrated by organizational in-fighting, Torres
resigned and returned to Sacramento (April 1985). By the time of his departure he wielded
considerable influence over the shaping of U.S. immigration policy.
Since mid-1985 Arnold Torres and his brother Rodrigo have operated a political consulting
firm in Sacramento. They have represented clients concerned with health care, affirmative
action, budget reform and other social issues. In addition to his work as a political
consultant, Torres has lectured on Hispanic issues at various universities. Torres and
his wife, Veronica, have a son, Alejandro.
- The Arnold Torres Papers complement the Ruben Bonilla Papers and LULAC Archives at the University of Texas, Austin.