TUCSON – Former Congressman Ed Pastor, the first Hispanic elected to Congress from Arizona, has died, relatives and close associates said on Wednesday. He was 75.
The Democrat, who represented Arizona for 12 terms in the House of Representatives from 1991 until his retirement in 2015, reportedly suffered a heart attack on Tuesday night.
“Congressman Pastor served the people of Arizona for more than 40 years as a member of the U.S. Congress and a member of the Board of Supervisors for Maricopa County,” said Laura Pastor in a press release on Wednesday announcing the death of her father.
Laura, a councilwoman from Phoenix, the state capital, said that her father will be remembered for his devotion to his family and his legacy of service to the community he loved so much.
Pastor made history on Sept. 24, 1991, when he won a special election to represent Arizona’s District 2, which at that time bordered on Mexico, making him the first Hispanic congressman from Arizona.
Originally from Claypool, Arizona, Pastor was the oldest of three children, graduated from Arizona State University and was a high school chemistry teacher in North Phoenix before he entered politics.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags to be flown at half staff in honor of the congressman and his political career.
“Today, Arizona mourns the loss of an Arizona trailblazer and true public servant, Congressman Ed Pastor ... (who) served 23 years in Congress, becoming the first Latino to represent Arizona in Congress,” said Ducey on his Twitter account.
Pastor is survived by his wife Verma, two daughters – Yvonne and Laura – and four grandchildren.