Former Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor Dies At 75

By Kathy Ritchie, Steve Goldstein, Mark Brodie
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 8:14am
Updated: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 1:09pm
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Ed Pastor.

Former Arizona Congressman Ed Pastor died Tuesday night at the age of 75.

In a statement, Phoenix Councilwoman Laura Pastor, Pastor's daughter, thanked first responders and staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix.  

Congressman Pastor served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 23 years before retiring in 2015. He was the first Mexican-American from Arizona elected to Congress.

Pastor started his political career working for Raul Castro, Arizona’s first Hispanic governor.

He was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in 1976 where he served three terms. Pastor was a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a member of the International Conservation Caucus.

Pastor was born in Claypool, Arizona in 1943, the oldest of three children. He received a scholarship to Arizona State University and was the first in his family to go to college. He graduated from ASU in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and went on to teach at North High School in Phoenix. He went back to school for his J.D. and graduated from ASU’s College of Law in 1974.

Pastor married his wife, Verma, and had two children, Laura and Yvonne. In 2016, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill to rename a Phoenix post office after Pastor.

Pastor is being remembered by friends and colleagues as a selfless and humble public servant who fought for projects including light rail and education.

Congressman-elect Greg Stanton says he was able to do so much for Arizona because of how he worked.

"One thing about Ed — he was successful whether the Democrats where in charge or the Republicans were in charge of Congress, because he worked seamlessly with members of both parties because all he cared about was getting the job done for the people of Arizona," Stanton said.

To talk more about the life and legacy of the late Ed Pastor, The Show spoke with Alberto Olivas, executive director for the Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service.

For more about Pastor's career and service to Arizona, The Show was joined by former Congressman and former colleague Matt Salmon.

Tommy Espinoza, well known for his community work as president and CEO of the Raza Development Fund, also joined The Show to delve a little deeper into the legacy of Congressman Pastor.

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