One of Italian America’s true luminaries, business and community leader Turano does triple duty as the senatore representing North and Central America in the Italian Parliament. He was elected to the Italian Senate in February 2013, having previously occupied the post from 2006 to 2008.
Born in Calabria in 1942, Turano moved with his family to America when he was 15. In 1962, the Turano family bought a small bakery in Chicago that Renato and his brothers, Umberto and Giancarlo, transformed into one of the largest manufacturers of artisan breads in North America: the Turano Baking Co.
Turano has been actively involved in the Chicago-area Italian-American community for decades. He has presided over the Columbian Club of Chicago, the Calabresi in America Organization, the Italian American Chamber of Commerce–Midwest and Casa Italia, and he has been honored by the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, Justinian Society of Lawyers, Italian Cultural Center, Order Sons of Italy in America, and Italian American Civic Organization of Berwyn, among many others.
Turano has held leadership positions at the national and international levels as well, serving on the Assocamerestero, an association of 76 Italian chambers of commerce around the world, and as consultore/adviser to the Region of Calabria, representing the interests of Calabresi in North America at annual work conferences in Italy.
Among his many accomplishments, he (1) co-founded Casa Italia, a community center for Italian Americans in the Chicago area; (2) helped the Italian American Chamber of Commerce–Midwest win official recognition from the Italian government; (3) leveraged funds from the Italian government to support economic exchanges between Italy and the Midwest, resulting in increased import/export activity; (4) brought Calabresi organizations from across North America together for the first time to work for the common good; and (5) helped create a sister-college relationship between the University of Wisconsin–Parkside and the University of Calabria.
Throughout his tenures in the Senate, Turano has been at the forefront of efforts to (1) pass legislation to make it easier to reclaim Italian citizenship; (2) increase funding to Italian consulates and improve consular services; (3) eliminate duplication of effort among Italian government offices; (4) increase funding to Italian language programs at the elementary, middle and high school levels; (5) increase cultural programs from Italy and make them more accessible to the community; (6) subsidize newspapers, radio shows and television programs that promote Italian culture and language; (7) encourage academic, student and cultural exchanges at the university level; (8) facilitate economic exchanges, joint ventures and increased trade; and (9) reform the Italian electoral process.
During his current term in office, he has effectively fought to (1) increase funds for the consular system and keep vital consular offices open around the world, (2) broaden access to citizenship in three key categories, and (3) reduce the property tax burden on Italians living abroad.
With all that he has accomplished, Turano is most proud of and thankful for his family. He has worked for 52 years with his two brothers, whom he considers his best friends, and he cherishes his relationship with his wife of 49 years, his three children and his nine grandchildren.