Ralph Torres Biography

Ralph Torres of the Republican party is the current and 9th Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, serving alongside Lt. Governor Arnold I. Palacios since December 29, 2015.

He’s the third longest-serving governor in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands history and also the youngest governor in the US at 40 years old.

Ralph Torres, whose current term ends on January 9, 2023, is running for re-election for Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands. He is on the ballot in the general election on November 8, 2022.

Here is a brief biography of Ralph Torres:

Full NameRalph Deleon Guerrero Torres
Age40 years old
Political PartyRepublican
HometownSaipan, CNMI

Ralph Torres Early Life

Ralph 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. Torres is currently 43 years.

Growing up, Torres lived with his parents and five siblings in a one-story house in Koblerville built by the family. Torres’ family later moved to Boise, Idaho.

Ralph Torres Education

At Boise, Torres attended Boise High School, graduating in 1996. He received a B.S. in political science from Boise State University in 2001.

Ralph Torres Family

Torres has six children with his wife, Diann Mendiola Tudela – Ralph Anthony, Vaniqa Marie, Deon Titus, Tristan Dane, Divannie, and Ryan.

Ralph Torres Career

Ralph Torres Biography

In 2004, he began to work with his brothers at Torres Brothers, Attorneys at Law until 2008, when he entered government service.

In 2008, Torres won the election to the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives. In 2010, he won the 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.

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

Upon the death of incumbent governor Eloy Inos, Torres became the Governor of the Northern Mariana Islands on December 29, 2015. In accordance with the constitution, the Senate president, Victor Hocog, became the Lt. governor.

In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Torres and his running mate, Arnold Palacios, won a full term, defeating former governor Juan Babauta, and Rita Sablan’s 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 pistol sales in the US.

However, this excessive tax was later ruled unconstitutional according to the US Constitution and overturned by the US District Court.

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.”

Torres has announced his intention to run for reelection in the 2022 gubernatorial election with territorial senator Vinnie Sablan as his running-mate. Despite being the incumbent governor, Torres’ victory in the November election is uncertain due to the several controversies around his governance.

In 2017, Torres and his wife were criticized for costing the government $24,297 on a 10-day trip to Montana. In February 2018, he reportedly received millions of dollars in payments from Hong Kong-based Imperial Pacific casino.

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.

That same month, the CNMI House of Representatives called for the impeachment of Torres amid an ongoing investigation by the FBI into his businesses. On January 12, 2022, Torres faced further impeachment due to felony allegations of theft, corruption, growing evidence of the misuse of local funds, and neglect of duty.

In the CNMI’s history, Ralph Torres is the second governor to have faced such an impeachment trial. However, Torres has denied all the charges against him.

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