California state Sen. Norma Torres has been through a lot. She left a war-torn nation as a child to come to the U.S. and create a better life with her family. She then devoted her life to public service. Now, Torres is running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Torres, 49, left her home town of Escuintla, Guatemala four decades ago when her parents told her she was going to the U.S. for a vacation, according to The Associated Press. Now she sees herself in the thousands of immigrant children from Central American streaming through the border.

"In many ways, I see the decision these children have made ... like the decision my parents made for me," Torres said. "They wanted an opportunity for me to grow up and be a successful person."

Now, Torres is running for a seat in the House to represent a Los Angeles-area district. However, this is not her first time working in public office.

According to her campaign page, the Democratic candidate has had decades of experience in the public sector since she began working as a 911 emergency dispatcher more than 20 years ago. She then served as a city councilmember, mayor of Pomona, state assembly member for Districts 61 and 52 and currently serves as state senator.

"In Congress I will continue my fight for better jobs, to protect families from the fallout from the housing crisis, to improve local transportation infrastructure, protect Medicare and Social Security, and to help Ontario Airport regain its footing as a hub of regional economic activity," she says on her website.

The airport she refers to is the Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County.

One of the latest bills Torres sponsored is a bill designed to curtail corruption, according to the San Bernardino Sun, and it's on its way to the state Senate. The bill prohibits "any individual from aiding or abetting a public officer or person in the receipt of a bribe and expands penalties for those who do so."