Hispanic Americans in Congress, 1822-1995
Ed Pastor, the first Hispanic from Arizona to be elected to Congress, was born on June 28, 1943 in the small mining community of Claypool in Gila County, Arizona. Pastor received a scholarship to attend Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and earned a B.A. degree in chemistry in 1966. After graduation he became a high school teacher and taught chemistry at North High School in Phoenix until to 1969. From 1969 to 1971 he also served as deputy director for Guadalupe Organization Inc. in Guadalupe, Arizona. In 1970 he was an intern at the Council for Better and Equal Business Opportunities in Washington, D.C. In 1971, he served as vice president of the Maricopa Legal Aid Society. The same year he returned to Arizona State University to pursue a law degree, and in 1974 he received a J.D. from Arizona State College of Law.
After law school, Arizona's first Hispanic Governor, Raúl Castro, hired Pastor as an aide. In 1972 Pastor became a delegate to the Democratic National Convention and continued serving as a delegate until 1984. In 1976 he was elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and was reelected to three terms. He served until May 1991, when he resigned to campaign for the vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives caused by the resignation of Representative Morris K. Udall.
In 1991, following a five-candidate primary, Pastor won the vacant seat in Arizona's Second District with fifty-six percent of the vote in a special general election. He was reelected in 1992 with sixty-five percent of the vote and in 1994 he received sixty-three percent of the vote. His first term in Congress he received a seat on the Appropriations Committee, where he served on two Subcommittees very important to his constituency - Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies; and Energy and Water Development.
In the 103rd Congress the House leadership awarded him a seat on the Steering and Policy Committee. Shortly after his reelection, the eighteen-member Congressional Hispanic Caucus elected Pastor to serve as its Chairman during the 104th Congress. He currently serves on the Agriculture Committee, and on the Committee on House Oversight.