The entire National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) family joins the nation in mourning the passing of Former NALEO President and U.S. Representative Ed Pastor, a dedicated statesman and community leader who throughout his accomplished career fought for the interests of Latinos and all Arizonans.
As a thoughtful, generous and steadfast leader who made history as the first Latino elected to Congress from the state of Arizona, U.S. Representative Pastor achieved several milestones throughout his accomplished career and paved the way for future generations of Latino leaders in the Grand Canyon State and nationwide.
Born on June 29, 1943 in the copper mining town of Claypool, Arizona, U.S. Rep. Pastor became the first in his family to go to college, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Arizona State University in Tempe in 1966 and a law degree in 1974. After graduation, he taught at North High School in Phoenix, later served on the staff of Arizona’s first Hispanic governor, Raul Héctor Castro, where he worked on civil rights and equal opportunity issues. U.S. Representative Pastor won election to the Maricopa County board of supervisors in 1976 and his bid to represent the Phoenix area in Congress in 1991. He represented his district in Congress for 11 terms, each time winning reelection with more than 62 percent of the vote.
U.S. Representative Pastor leaves behind a lasting legacy in Congress, a true champion for the people of Arizona, he worked continuously over the years to fund infrastructure projects in his home state, especially those concerned with energy development, water access, and mass transit. During his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, he supported many of the Southwest’s environmental programs, and was a frequent advocate for Arizona’s American Indian communities.
In 2002 and 2003, the NALEO Board of Directors elected him to serve as NALEO President. NALEO will always be incredibly grateful for U.S. Representative Pastor’s leadership, spirit of generosity and meaningful commitment to Latinos, Arizonans and all Americans. We extend our deepest condolences to his wife Verma Pastor, his daughters Yvonne Pastor and Phoenix Councilmember Laura Pastor, and grandchildren. Our hearts and thoughts are also with all of his extended family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials is the non-partisan leadership organization of the nation’s more than 6,600 Latino elected and appointed officials.