Former congressman Ed Pastor, an Arizona Democrat who served on Capitol Hill from 1991 to 2015 and was the state’s first Hispanic congressman, died Nov. 28 in Phoenix. He was 75.
The cause was a heart attack, said Ronnie Lopez, who served as his campaign finance director.
Mr. Pastor went to Congress after winning a special election for the seat vacated by fellow Democrat Morris K. Udall. In Congress, Mr. Pastor represented a heavily Democratic district centered in Phoenix.
He served on the House Appropriations Committee, championed transportation projects such as funding for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport improvements and construction of the metro area’s light-rail system.
He eventually rose to leadership posts, becoming chief deputy whip and serving on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. He was the longtime senior member of Arizona’s House delegation before he decided in 2014 against running for reelection.
Edward Lopez Pastor was born June 28, 1943, in Claypool, Ariz., a small mining town about 100 miles east of Phoenix, where his father worked in the copper mines. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, receiving a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Arizona State University in 1966.
He taught high school chemistry in Phoenix and later served as deputy director of a community nonprofit, the Guadalupe Organization, before completing a degree at the Arizona State College of Law in 1974.
He then joined the staff of Arizona Gov. Raul Castro and focused on enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and later successfully ran for a seat on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in 1976. He remained in that job until 1991.
In addition to his wife of 53 years, the former Verma Mendez, survivors include two daughters, Laura Pastor, a Phoenix City Council member, and Yvonne Pastor; and a sister.
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