Robert Guy Torricelli (born August 27, 1951), nicknamed "the Torch," is an American politician who served as the United States senator from New Jersey from 1997 to 2003 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey's 9th district from 1983 to 1997. From 1999 to 2000, he served as the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Raised in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, the son of a librarian and an attorney, Torricelli's interest in politics was fueled by history lessons that he took from his mother's school library. As a teenager he visited Georgia to see the reality of segregation and traveled to Israel to visit the holy city of Jerusalem. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctor at Rutgers University and a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University. While at Rutgers, he was elected class president his junior and senior year and worked on Brendan Byrne's 1973 campaign for governor and as deputy legislative counsel to Governor Byrne.
During the Carter administration, Torricelli served as a counsel to Vice President Walter Mondale. He was a member of the Rutgers University Board of Governors from 1977 to 1982. In 1982, he was elected to the 98th United States Congress and for each successive Congress until 1996, when he was elected to the United States Senate. In the Senate, Torricelli was a member of the Governmental Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, and Rules Committee.
Torricelli helped rewrite federal bankruptcy rules, assuring federal financing for hospitals. A leading voice for tax cuts, he was the author of the provisions reducing taxes for middle income families and making college tuition tax deductible. He obtained over $1 billion in federal funding for the construction of affordable housing in New Jersey. Additionally, Torricelli established the federal urban park restoration program and secured funding for law enforcement and education, leading to the addition of thousands more police officers and reductions in class sizes...
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