Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Ralph Torres
Governorralphtorresportrait2021.jpg
9th Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
Assumed office
December 29, 2015
LieutenantVictor Hocog
Arnold Palacios
Preceded byEloy Inos
10th Lieutenant Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
In office
January 11, 2015 – December 29, 2015
GovernorEloy Inos
Preceded byJude Hofschneider
Succeeded byVictor Hocog
President of the Northern Mariana Islands Senate
In office
February 20, 2013 – January 12, 2015
Preceded byJude Hofschneider
Succeeded byVictor Hocog
Personal details
Born
Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres

(1979-08-06) August 6, 1979 (age 43)
Garapan, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (now Northern Mariana Islands)
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Diann Mendiola Tudela
Children6
EducationBoise State University (BA)

Ralph Deleon Guerrero Torres (born August 6, 1979) is a Northern Marianan politician currently serving as the 9th Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands since December 29, 2015. He is a Republican from Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The third longest-serving governor in CNMI history, Torres took office upon the death of Governor Eloy Inos on December 29, 2015 before being reelected as governor in his own right in 2018. He previously served as the tenth lieutenant governor, having been elected to that post in 2014.[1] At 43, he is the youngest incumbent governor in the United States.

Early life and education[edit]

Torres was born on August 6, 1979 to a Chamorro family in Garapan, then part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Torres' father was a government field officer and Commonwealth Utilities Corporation (CUC) dispatcher, while his mother was a teacher at William S. Reyes Elementary School. Growing up, Torres lived with his parents and five siblings in a one-story house in Koblerville built by the family.[2]

Torres' family would later move to Boise, Idaho, where he would attend Boise High School, graduating in 1996. He received a B.S. in political science from Boise State University in 2001.[3] In 2004, he began to work with his brothers at Torres Brothers, Attorneys at Law.

Early political career[edit]

Commonwealth Legislature[edit]

In 2008, Torres won election to the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives. In 2010, he won election to the Northern Mariana Islands Senate, acting in a variety of roles. From 2010 to 2015 he was chairman of the Health & Welfare Committee. In February 2013, he became the president of the Senate.[3]

Lieutenant Governorship[edit]

In the 2014 gubernatorial election, Torres was elected lieutenant governor on the Republican Party ticket headed by Eloy Songao Inos,[1] and was sworn in on January 12, 2015.

Governorship[edit]

Tenure and elections[edit]

Upon the death of incumbent governor Eloy Inos, Torres became the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands on December 29, 2015.[4][5] In accordance with the constitution, the Senate president, Victor Hocog, became lieutenant governor.[6] In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Torres and his running mate Arnold Palacios won a full term, defeating former governor Juan Babauta and Rita Sablan ticket.

As Governor, Torres approved a bill, public law 19-42, that adds a $1,000 excise tax on pistol purchases, this is the highest tax on pistols sales in the US.[7] However, this excessive tax was later ruled as unconstitutional according to the United States Constitution and overturned by the United States District Court.[8]

On September 21, 2018, Torres signed into law the Taulamwaar Sensible CNMI Cannabis Act, stating: "Today, our people made history. We took a stand to legalize marijuana in the CNMI for recreational, medical, and commercial use."[9]

Torres has announced his intention to run for reelection in the 2022 gubernatorial election with territorial senator Vinnie Sablan as his running-mate.[10]

Controversies[edit]

Torres and his wife, First Lady Diann Torres, were criticized for costing the government $24,297 on a trip to Montana. The trip, conducted from June 23 to July 2, 2017, involved stops in both Oregon and Idaho.[11] In February 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Torres and his family have received millions of dollars in payments from Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific casino.[12]

Alternate portrait of Torres

On November 7, 2019, the FBI executed a search and seizure warrant to raid Torres' office, home, and car as well as his brothers' law firm and various other businesses across Saipan for evidence of wire fraud, schemes to defraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and illegal campaign contributions.[13]

In November 2019 the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives called for the impeachment of Torres amid an ongoing investigation by the FBI into his businesses.[14] Torres faced further impeachment backlash with growing evidence of the misuse of local funds that violated CNMI procurement laws.[15][16] As of 12 January 2022, Ralph Torres is the second governor to have been impeached in the CNMI's history. [17]

National politics[edit]

On March 11, 2016, Torres endorsed frontrunner Donald Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.[18] Torres reiterated his support for Trump in the general election following the Access Hollywood controversy.[19]

Following the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Torres congratulated the president-elect, while also praising Trump for his "commitment and support for the people of the Northern Mariana Islands". He added that the outgoing President "delivered time and time again for our people" through measures such as NMI U.S. Workforce Act of 2018, and praised Trump's response to the Super Typhoon Yutu.

Personal life[edit]

Torres has six children with his wife, the former Diann Mendiola Tudela: Ralph Anthony, Vaniqa Marie, Deon Titus, Tristan Dane, Divannie and Ryan.[3] Torres is of Chamorro ancestry.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Commonwealth Election Commission - Election 2014 Results". Archived from the original on November 30, 2014. Retrieved 3 May 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ "Gov. Ralph DLG Torres". Saipan Tribune. 2016-12-29. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  3. ^ a b c "Ralph DLG. Torres biography". Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Governor's Office. Archived from the original on July 28, 2016. Retrieved October 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Rabago, Mark (29 December 2015). "Gov. Eloy Inos Passes Away". Saipan Tribune. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  5. ^ Manglona, Thomas (29 December 2015). "CNMI Governor Eloy Inos Dies". Pacific News Center. Archived from the original on 1 January 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  6. ^ New governor, lt. governor sworn in Archived 2015-12-29 at the Wayback Machine Marianas Variety December 29, 2015
  7. ^ Kartch, John (April 18, 2016). "$1,000 Gun Tax Pushed as 'Role Model' for States". Americans for Tax Reform. Archived from the original on December 27, 2016. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  8. ^ Dumat-ol Daleno, Gaynor. "Federal judge shoots down CNMI gun restrictions". Pacific Daily News. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Angell, Tom (September 21, 2018). "Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill, Making History In US Territory". Forbes. Retrieved June 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Erediano, Emmanuel T. "CNMI Gov. Torres to seek reelection". The Guam Daily Post. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  11. ^ "'Torreses' travel to Montana cost govt $24,297'". Saipan Tribune. 2021-07-07. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  12. ^ Campbell, Matthew (February 15, 2018). "A Chinese Casino Has Conquered a Piece of America". Bloomberg Businessweek. Archived from the original on February 16, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  13. ^ "Feds seek evidence of wire fraud, money laundering investigation in CNMI". The Guam Daily Post. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Call for impeachment of CNMI governor". Radio New Zealand. 19 November 2019. Archived from the original on 19 November 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Some CNMI lawmakers seek investigation of governor's alleged corruption, fraud". Pacific Daily News. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Minority Bloc to Speaker:Investigate the Governor". The Guam Daily Post. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
  17. ^ "CNMI House Votes to Impeach Governor Torres".
  18. ^ Cheney, Kyle. "Trump gains an edge in Northern Marianas". POLITICO. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  19. ^ Villahermosa, Cherrie Anne E. "Torres 'not happy' with Trump, but still supports candidacy". The Guam Daily Post. Retrieved 2021-11-28.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
2015
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
2015–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands
2018, 2022
Most recent