News broke this afternoon that Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) has announced his retirement. He was the first Hispanic elected to Congress from Arizona, and has held the seat, virtually unchallenged, since 1991, when he succeeded Mo Udall, another fantastic congressman.
U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., the first Hispanic from Arizona elected to Congress and the senior member of the state’s House delegation, announced Thursday that he will retire after completing 23 years in Washington. Arizona RepublicI've known Ed and his wife Verma for many years, and while I wish he'd been a bit more progressive and less Blue Doggy, he usually came down on the right side. Whenever I visited his office he and his staff were always extremely helpful. He truly cared about the people of Arizona, which is evident from the many projects he brought here (his critics of course called it pork).
Pastor's District 7 should be safely Democratic; it's 65 percent Hispanic and always swings to the left. The Arizona Republic is reporting that Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, has already announced he will enter the race. It's apt to be a crowded field.
Pastor was a powerful congressman, especially during the Clinton years, when he chaired the Hispanic Caucus and was a member of the Appropriations Committee. Many here in Arizona wish he'd have used his clout more assertively, especially on immigration reform.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement:
"Congressman Ed Pastor is a trailblazer who has dedicated his life to serving the families of Arizona. Throughout his four decades in public service and his 12 terms in Congress, Ed Pastor never forgot his roots, and always worked to build a brighter future for the children of our nation, championing key investments in education, infrastructure, and small businesses."Ed's daughter Laura was just elected to the Phoenix City Council, so the Pastor family will remain active in Arizona politics for years to come. Farewell, Ed, and thanks for your service. He began as a teacher and served in the administration of Raul Castro, our first Hispanic governor. Yes, Arizona was once sane.