The Rundown Ed Pastor

Ed PastorBest known for this term: Being thequiet and behind-the-scenes representative. Arizonas first Hispanic congressman consistently votes with the Democrats, holds regular office hours with constituents and boasted perfect attendance on votes this session, but he generally avoids making waves in the media and on the House floor.

Immediate withdrawl from Iraq
Pastor opposed going to war with Iraq in 2002, and early last year he cosponsored a resolution to implement a plan for immediate withdrawl. He recently criticized Republicans for avoiding a substantive debate on the war and criticized the Bush Administration:

I also disagree with the dangerous analogy made in this resolution between Iraq and the Administrations war on terror policy. There is not, and never has been, any credible intelligence linking Iraq to 9/11 and Al Qaeda.

He also criticized the militarys handling of Pat Tillmans death, calling it part of a pattern of the military not being truthful to the American people when dealing with high-profile situations with a lot of publicity.

Walks the line
Pastor is a reliably solid Democrat; he touts the partys New Direction for America, a six-point plan akin to the Republicans electorally successful Contract with America. He supported rolling back tax cuts for the wealthy to pay for Hurricaine Katrina relief, granting federal air-conditioning assistance to the needy who live in hot climates, providing $300 million for family housing assistance, and raising taxes on cigarettes to fund programs for children.

He opposed the Private Property Rights Protection Act, the establishment of personal accounts for Social Security, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The latter is interesting because Pastor voted for NAFTA; he recently stated that he now regrets that vote.

Funds for Phoenix
Pastors biggest appropriations victory this term was helping to procure $90 million for Valley light rail. He also brought back $1.7 million to help residents deal with noise from Sky Harbor airport (thats a lot of earplugs). His best political move was
procuring $3 million for a pedestrian bridge that had become something of a hot button issue after several school children were struck by cars in the area. But a conservative group pinged him for pork when he got $500,000 added to a defense spending bill for the Translational Genomics Research Institute.

Pastor also tried to buy Phoenixs Madison Square Garden some more time in the hope that it would be declared a historic site, but the boxing venue was demolished in September 2005.

Traveling Ed
Pastor was congratulated in the national media for courageously attending an airport conference in Hawaii in the midst of ethics scandals involving gifts from special interests. He is also fond of golfing with lobbyists. He ranked 18th out of 638 Congressional members listed on the PowerTrips website, and defended the trips when necessary: It was not a joke to me, he said of a $19,000 jaunt to Barcelona to study nuclear waste management. It was a working trip.

Immigration issues
Pastor supports comprehensive immigration reform; he cosponsored the plan introduced by Jeff Flake and Jim Kolbe. He sponsored a private bill to keep four illegal immigrants – all brought to the United States as small children and all award-winning students – from being deported. The students were allowed to stay per a judges ruling.

Why youd re-elect him: If you oppose the war in Iraq, this is your congressman – hes opposed it from the beginning (though he, like most Democrats, has since voted to fund it.) He is good with constituent services. He has been around Congress for a long time and knows the ropes.

Why youd toss him out: Pastor wants to bring the troops home from Iraq immediately, and supports a guest-worker program, two sticking points for many Republicans and independents.

Ed Pastor is running against Republican Don Karg.

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