Gov. J.B. Pritzker tapped a former campaign aide to be his point person on education Wednesday, calling his choice a dedicated public servant “whose passion for achieving a quality education for all of our children will continue to be an asset to this administration.”
Pritzker promoted Martin Torres from his role as first assistant deputy governor for education to the top role, describing him as a “trusted advisor.”
“From fighting for education equity at the Latino Policy Forum, to executing our P-20 education agenda and helping bring students safely back to our classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic, Martin has done so much to improve the lives of Illinois’ families,” Pritzker said in a written statement.
“I value his insights and look forward to our continued work to ensure a full pandemic recovery and quality education for all of our students.”
Torres served as deputy policy director on Pritzker’s first campaign for governor and later joined the administration as a senior policy advisor before moving to the first assistant deputy governor for education role.
In a statement from the governor’s office, Torres was lauded for the “critical role” he played in coordinating Pritzker’s COVID-19 response in classrooms across Illinois’ municipalities.
Torres also served as the associate director of the Latino Policy Forum where he managed that organization’s state policy agenda.
Torres said in a statement he and the governor are “focused on making Illinois the best state in the nation to raise children.
“Illinois students, now more than ever, need additional support to achieve their potential and pursue their dreams,” Torres said. “This administration is committed to changing the trajectory of students’ lives by expanding access to early care and education, bolstering the state’s investment in the k-12 funding, making college more affordable, and expanding pathways to emerging industries.”
The new deputy governor for education succeeds Jesse Ruiz, who announced his plans to leave the public sector in August to focus on practicing law to “pursue new challenges in the profession I love.” Ruiz joined The Vistria Group in September as the private investment firm’s general counsel and chief compliance officer.