Congressman Ed Pastor

Watts College mourns the loss of Congressman Ed Pastor

Students, faculty and staff of Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions are saddened by the passing of Congressman Ed Pastor, who died Tuesday night. He was 75.

His family announced his passing in a statement by his daughter, Phoenix City Councilwoman Laura Pastor.

"Congressman Pastor will be remembered for his commitment to his family and his legacy of service to the community that he loved, the state of Arizona and the nation."

Watts College is home to the Pastor Center for Politics and Public Service, created to honor Ed Pastor’s legacy and inspire others to engage in politics.

"This is a devastating and tremendous loss to the community," said Jonathan Koppell, Dean of Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions. "Congressman Pastor exemplified what public service is about: working together to solve problems and better our communities.

"He was not interested in grandiose speech-making or incendiary partisanship because that never got things done. Students who want to make the world a better place are inspired by Ed Pastor to jump into the political fray and make it happen."

Pastor took tremendous pride in being a Sun Devil, having earned a bachelor’s degree in education and a law degree from Arizona State University. He taught high school math before becoming a community organizer in the town of Guadalupe. He went on to work for Arizona Governor Raul Castro before being elected to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, where he served for twelve years. Pastor was elected to Congress in 1991 and served until he retired in 2015. He was key to securing funding for the Phoenix and Tucson light rail systems. After he retired from Congress in 2015, Pastor donated more than $1 million dollars to ASU, creating a center to encourage political engagement and promote public service.

"Pastor was a role model for effective, inclusive and community-building leadership," said Alberto Olivas, executive director of the Pastor Center. "Over the years, he inspired countless young people – particularly those from under-represented communities – to become politically active and to consider careers in public service."

Pastor was a frequent guest at events sponsored by the college and center. Olivas says Pastor loved to speak with students of all ages.

"His informal, genuine style captivated students and community members of all political persuasions," Olivas said.

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