Tuesday, December 09, 2008

State Democratic Party Chief Nominated as CIRM Vice Chair

The head of California's Demoratic party, Art Torres, has been nominated as a candidate for the vice chairmanship of the state's $3 billion stem cell agency.

State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, also a Democrat and Torres colleague, offered the former state legislator to fill the post, which carries a salary range of $180,000 to $332,000. If elected by the board, Torres would take the position vacated by Ed Penhoet, who resigned to assume a non-paying membership on the board. Penhoet did not accept a salary.

It was not clear whether Torres(see photo) would accept a salary or continue in his position as chairman of the California Democratic Party should he be elected to the CIRM post.

Terri Somers of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the nomination this morning. She wrote:
"The institute's board will select a new vice chairman from a group of candidates nominated by the state's constitutional officers. Torres said yesterday that he also expect to be nominated by Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and Controller John Chiang."
In a letter Friday to CIRM Chairman Robert Klein, Lockyer said,
"Art has always been a champion for funding basic scientific research, including early funding for AIDS research. After leaving public office, he continued his patient advocacy serving on the boards of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and OneLegacy organ transplant foundation. As chair of the California Democratic Party, he led it in endorsing Prop. 71 and ensured the measure was prominently highlighted in campaign material to over a million California voters."
Torres had a 20-year career as state senator and assemblyman, representing an area in Los Angeles. His leadership positions in the Legislature included chairmanship of the Assembly Health Committee.

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