Statement by UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía on the Passing of Congressman Ed Pastor

WASHINGTON, DC—The UnidosUS familia is devastated and heartbroken to hear the very sad news of the sudden passing of former Congressman Ed Pastor Tuesday in Phoenix. Ed Pastor devoted his life to public service, first as a longtime member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and then in his nearly quarter of a century representing the people of Arizona’s 7th District as the first Latino ever elected to Congress from the state. His legacy to his state and his country is such that Arizona’s Republican governor has given him the fitting honor of ordering state flags lowered to half-mast in Ed’s memory.

Ed Pastor was a trailblazer, leading the way for Latino members of Congress back in the day when they were just a handful. He spent his more than two decades in Congress as a champion for Arizona and for the Latino community as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, working closely with members from both sides of the aisle. As the cardinal of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, he played a key role in securing increased funding for housing, including housing for seniors, and in bringing light rail to Phoenix, earning bipartisan support and praise from Arizona’s leaders in government and business. He made his mark in helping to ensure that the Arizonans and working families in this country had the opportunity to achieve their dreams of a better life. He was a staunch supporter of increasing access to education and of comprehensive immigration reform.

UnidosUS will greatly miss our friend and our partner of more than four decades. We honored him twice with the Maclovio Barraza Award for Leadership. He was a mentor to many of our Affiliates in Arizona, helping them become some of the most respected and effective community-based organizations not only in the state, but in the country. And Ed Pastor served with great distinction on our Board of Directors. We will always be grateful for his calm guidance, wise counsel and great sense of humor as Board Chair from 1984 to 1987, one of the most challenging times in our organization’s history. Thanks to his leadership, UnidosUS was put on the path to becoming the American institution we are today.

I personally will always be grateful for the mentorship and encouragement he provided to me while I was working as a young professional staffer on the Hill. Ed never forgot to keep opening the door for others to succeed and lifting them up for better opportunities. His kindness, humility, wisdom and warmth enriched all who knew him. I feel very privileged to have known and worked with him.

We send our deepest condolences to his loving wife of 53 years, Verma Pastor, his daughters Laura and Yvonne and the rest of the Pastor family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the people of Arizona as they mourn the loss of this wonderful man and remarkable leader. May he rest in peace.