Contra Costa Times Profiles Torlakson, Health Care Efforts
The Contra Costa Times on Sunday profiled Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Concord), who during his legislative career has sponsored several bills encouraging nutrition and exercise, especially among children. Torlakson will be prohibited from running for re-election in 2008 because of term limits.
Torlakson, who is chair of the recently merged Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, has put forth "dogged efforts to impose state and regional planning on local land-use decisions," the Times reports. Torlakson said that transportation, housing and education are connected and can affect individuals' health.
In addition, Torlakson said that children do not always learn in school how to eat nutritiously and exercise. "One-third of California children born this year will contract diabetes. This is going to have a huge impact on the cost of delivering health care in this state," he said.
Torlakson's friends and colleagues refer to him as "a coach," because he provides health tips on his Web site, which he also sends to interested lawmakers, and has lobbied for healthier snacks in the Senate's vending machines. Torlakson also has worked on an initiative that would ban junk food in schools.
Torlakson currently is sponsoring a bill (SB 522) that would require companies to stock vending machines with at least 50% healthy food, as well as a bill (SB 564) that would raise cigarette taxes by $1 per pack to fund children's health and breast cancer programs (Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, 3/13).