He is the grandson of Mexican immigrants. His grandfather was a butcher and his grandmother a seamstress who worked hard all their lives to provide stable, loving homes for their families. His father is former Senator Art Torres, a trailblazing elected leader and former Chairman of California’s Democratic Party. His mother Yolanda Nava is a writer and former journalist, who throughout her career has served as an advocate and role model for women.
Over the years of his career in public service, Joaquín has worked behind the scenes, developing and executing programs that create jobs and economic opportunity for residents and the City’s diverse neighborhoods and small businesses. His passion for and belief in good government grows from his very personal experience of the difference it can make in people’s lives--from helping a single Latina experiencing domestic violence find a safe, stable home, to creating financing for Chinatown merchants to weather the impacts of city construction projects, to providing a Hayes Valley barber access to capital that will help his business survive the COVID-19 pandemic. Building a government that is easy to access and approachable is fundamental to Joaquin’s approach to ensuring government works for everyone.
As the former Director of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Joaquín led the City’s COVID-19 economic relief efforts for workers and businesses . Among his many accomplishments during the pandemic, Joaquin is most proud to have helped focus the city on building a more equitable economy, launching the City’s first African American revolving loan fund and increasing resources for women entrepreneurs and minority and immigrant owned small businesses.
As San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder, Joaquín brings these values of hard work, a focus on people, and expanding opportunity to a department that provides billions of dollars in funding for critical services ranging from our schools and parks and playgrounds, to economic relief, sanitation, emergency services and public health programs.
As Assessor, Joaquín leads an organization of 200 committed professionals to efficiently and fairly identify and assess all taxable property in the City and County of San Francisco and apply all legal exemptions, in addition to recording and maintaining official records of the City and collecting transfer tax from changes in property ownership.
Joaquín currently serves as Chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.), and serves as an Executive Board member at SPUR, a non-profit research and policy organization helping to develop regional solutions to major urban challenges ranging from housing, economic equity, land use and transportation to food access, climate and governance.
Joaquín serves as President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission where he has led the oversight body as it worked to rehabilitate over 3,400 units of public housing with $750 million in improvements, ultimately transferring ownership to affordable housing providers to better serve low-income communities.
Joaquín has also served as Director for San Francisco’s Invest in Neighborhoods initiative and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services under Mayor Edwin M. Lee, and Liaison to the San Francisco Latino and American Indian communities and to Supervisorial Districts Nine and Eleven to Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Joaquín is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in the Inner Sunset with his wife, Ruibo Qian.