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Twelve Stories: How Democracy Works Now | Participants



Michael Torra

We met Michael on our earliest ventures to the House side of the Hill, but we didn‘t get to know him till the summer of 2003 when he was in talks with Margaret Klessing and Becky Jensen about possibly cosponsoring a bill with their bosses. Michael was Legislative Director for Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Texas Democrat and former Border Patrol Agent, and that summer‘s most sought-after cosponsor for immigration bills. Michael had to figure out which legislation would be best for his boss to cosponsor-- not only what policy was best, but what was best politically.

It seemed like the whole town was calling him, trying to push him on or off of Rep. Kolbe and Rep. Flake‘s bill. At that point we‘d been primarily filming in the relative calm of the Senate Judiciary Committee, so this kind of full-court-press was a change of pace for us. Michael took it all in stride, and taught us a lot about how someone as powerful as Rep. Reyes operates in the House.

In the years that followed Michael‘s work didn‘t bring him into the stories we were filming, which we regret to this day-- he was a lot of fun.

Michael started on Capitol Hill as a staffer for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in 2001, fresh from a high-profile campaign victory with Rep. Adam Schiff. He left the Hill in early 2009 to join the Raben Group. Michael is also an abstract and non-representational artist who periodically exhibits his paintings in the Washington area.

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