Reared by his mother when his father was deported to Mexico during the Depression, Esteban Torres graduated from Gar- field High School in Los Angeles in 1949. After serving in the Korean War, he began his ascent as a community leader in Los Angeles. In 1976, President Carter named him Ambas- sador to UNESCO and later Special Assistant to the President for Hispanic affairs. In 1982, he was elected to California’s 34th Congressional District. Congressman Torres is the highest-ranking Hispanic on the House Committee on Ap- propriations. He has spearheaded numerous laws in areas of environment, community and banking and is considered the “Chief Architect” in persuading many opponents to vote in favor of NAFTA.