Rep. Ed Pastor (D)
Arizona 4th District
Phoenix is a relatively new American metropolis; it’s grown to big-city size just in the past generation. Yet it is also an ancient city, or built on top of one. The Arizona Canal, several miles north of downtown Phoenix, runs along the route of a canal built about 600 years ago by the Hohokam aboriginal people. They distributed irrigated water diverted from the Salt River in its wet moments to farmers in what today is called the Valley of the Sun, and they made sophisticated astronomical observations from the mountains that jut up from the plains. This society disappeared for reasons unknown less than half a century before the Spaniards arrived in North America. So today’s Phoenix is the second civilization to prosper in this desert region. Phoenix and Maricopa County had 331,000 people in 1950 and more than 4 million by 2008. Half a century ago, Phoenix spread six miles north, west, and east of the downtown and only a few miles south. Downtown was its only office district and its main shopping area, and people blew fans over boxes of ice to cool off. Today, the view from downtown Phoenix’s office towers seems to stretch as far as the eye can see, toward groupings of other office towers to the north, northeast, and northwest.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 4th Congressional District of Arizona is centered in downtown Phoenix and is based entirely in Maricopa County. It covers the capitol, in a rundown neighborhood a couple of miles to the west, and busy Sky Harbor International Airport, situated in an industrial corridor several miles east. It includes most of southern Phoenix, and its boundaries follow approximately the southern and western city limits. It extends as far north as Bethany Home Road and Northern Avenue. It stretches south into Guadalupe and northwest into Glendale. Geographically, it covers most of the land between South Mountain and Camelback Mountain. The district is one of Arizona’s two Hispanic districts; its population by the mid-2000s was 69% Hispanic. Most are Mexican, but there has been an influx of Guatemalans. The typical Latino neighborhood here is a collection of 1940s and 1950s bungalows. Habitat for Humanity built South Ranch, its largest low-income subdivision, in the district, with the idea of clustering poor homeowners together and encouraging them to stave off neighborhood decline collectively. Politically, this is a solidly Democratic district, the most Democratic in Arizona.
Rep. Ed Pastor (D)
Elected: Sept. 1991, 9th full term.
Born: June 28, 1943, Claypool .
Education: AZ St. U., B.A. 1966, J.D. 1974.
Family: Married (Verma); 2 children.
Elected office: Maricopa Cnty. Bd. of Supervisors, 1976–91.
Professional Career: High schl. teacher, 1966–69; Asst., AZ Gov. Castro, 1975.
The congressman from the 4th District is Ed Pastor, a Democrat who won a 1991 special election to replace Morris (Mo) Udall, the revered, 14-term liberal who championed environmental causes. (At the time, the district’s boundaries were different.) Pastor grew up in Claypool, a mining town in Gila County. He has spent his entire career in politics, but has a much lower profile than his predecessor in the seat. After teaching high school, Pastor got a law degree at Arizona State University. He was an assistant to Democratic Gov. Raul Castro, the first Hispanic governor of Arizona, in 1975. He was elected in 1976 to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, where he served until his election to Congress. In 1991, he defeated Republican Pat Connor, 56%-44%. He has not faced serious competition since.
|Ed Pastor (D)||89,721||(72%)||($815,864)|
|Don Karg (R)||26,435||(21%)|
|Rebecca DeWitt (Green)||4,464||(4%)|
|Joe Cobb (Lib)||3,807||(3%)|
|Ed Pastor (D)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (73%), 2004 (70%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (69%), 1998 (68%), 1996 (65%), 1994 (62%), 1992 (66%), 1991 (56%)
Pastor has been a faithful follower of the Democratic leadership and has a mostly liberal voting record. He supported the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993 despite strong labor opposition, but he opposed normal trade relations with China and the free-trade agreement with Central America. He vigorously opposed Arizona’s English Only law and supports bilingual ballots. In 2002, he sponsored legislation to provide amnesty to immigrants who were in the United States prior to January 2000. After a 2002 trip to Cuba, where he met with President Fidel Castro for three hours, he urged the immediate end of the trade embargo. In 2004, he narrowly lost a vote in the Appropriations Committee on his proposal to allow banks to accept the Mexican matricula consular cards for identification. Pastor serves in the Democratic leadership as a chief deputy whip, and is also active in the Hispanic Caucus.
Much of Pastor’s work has been on the Appropriations Committee, where he has often earmarked funds for local projects. He has evolved into the “go-to guy” for federal funds for Arizona because he is the only House or Senate appropriator from Arizona, and because most influential fellow Arizonans, like GOP Sen. John McCain and Republican Reps. Jeff Flake and John Shadegg, ideologically oppose earmarks. When money is needed, said a Maricopa County supervisor, “you go to Ed.” In early 2009, Pastor took temporary control of the chairmanship of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water after Chairman Peter Visclosky of Indiana stepped aside for the duration of a grand jury probe into possible corruption in the appropriations process. The arrangement put Pastor at the helm of a $30 billion energy and water projects bill that year. Visclosky was under investigation for his ties to the lobbying firm PMA Group, which secured tens of millions of dollars for its clients with Visclosky’s help.
Pastor also drew unfavorable publicity for his work on appropriation bills. The Arizona Republic reported in June 2007 that Pastor had significantly increased from $200,000 to $333,000 the federal grant money to a Maricopa Community Colleges scholarship program after his daughter Laura was hired to help run it. She had less experience than other applicants. Pastor said that he had supported the program long before his daughter was hired in 2005.