Democratic Party politician and three-term, 11th district member of the California State Assembly. As a 7th district (Contra Costa County) representative, he was also a two-term California State Senator.
During the Vietnam War years, he was a member of the United States Merchant Marine. Following his wartime service, he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in education.
During the 1970s, he worked as a San Francisco Bay Area high school science teacher.
Following his divorce from his wife of thirty years, Dianna, he married Ambrose Parks & Recreation Board Member Mae Cendana. He raised two daughters: Tamara and Tiffany.
In 2006, then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger passed eighteen of the twenty state bills that Torlakson championed.