Newly elected senator from Central Washington’s 15th Legislative District takes office in Olympia
OLYMPIA – Sen. Nikki Torres, elected in November to represent the 15th Legislative District, was named Republican deputy floor leader in the state Senate Monday as lawmakers returned to the Capitol to launch their 2023 legislative session.
Torres, R-Pasco, took her oath of office during opening ceremonies in the Senate. The session is scheduled to run 105 days.
“Not only am I proud to represent the 15th Legislative District, I am honored to receive this vote of confidence from my colleagues. It is a great responsibility to speak for our part of the state, and I look forward to being a voice for our communities, our interests, and the people of Central Washington.”
As deputy floor leader, Torres will assist in the flow of parliamentary action on the Senate floor by offering motions on behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus. Torres represents a district that runs from the Yakima Valley to Franklin County. A longtime community leader, she most recently served as a member of the Pasco City Council
“This position allows me to speak for our region on a larger stage,” Torres said. “The needs we face range from sensible water regulation in agricultural areas to mental health programs and school safety. Often it seems Olympia writes laws for the urban Puget Sound region, and we need to make sure our concerns are sounded in the debate.”
Other major issues for the district include some of the hottest topics before the Legislature in the 2023 session. “When I’ve been out speaking with community members, people have told me the most pressing issues are crime, the economy and inflation. We’re interested in effective law enforcement, a positive climate for small business and opportunity for all, and in keeping our lives affordable. We can build on the exciting technologies under development at Hanford, and play a major role in the coming clean-energy revolution. We have much to say in our part of the state, and Olympia needs to hear it.”
Torres has hit the ground running, pre-filing legislation for consideration during the 2023 legislative session. Proposals include a coordinated statewide program to improve water supply and infrastructure (SB 5157) and stronger prosecution of organized retail theft (SB 5160). Other Torres bills would expand the state’s farm internship program (SB 5156), reduce the burden on local governments for shoreline reviews (SB 5159) and making changes to the state’s pesticide registration program (SB 5143).
Torres’ committee assignments are Law and Justice, Local Government, Land Use and Tribal Affairs and Ways and Means.
Torres attended Pasco High School and earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Phoenix. She is a strategic partnership manager for Western Governors University. Previously she specialized in small business lending at GESA Credit Union.
A former president of the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Torres said she takes a special interest in the advancement of the youthful fast-growing Hispanic population of the Tri-Cities and the lower Yakima Valley. Previous community involvements include serving on the Washington Childcare Collaborative Task Force, and board positions with Tri-Cities Community Health and Visit Tri-Cities.
Torres’ office in Olympia can be reached by phone at 360-786-7684, by email at Nikki.Torres@leg.wa.gov, or by mail at P.O. Box 40415, Olympia, WA, 98504. Her legislative assistant is Justus Phelps.