He has held his seat in the House of Representatives since 1991 But today Rep. Ed Pastor announced that he won't seek another term. Pastor, 70, announced his decision on Twitter, saying that it was time for him "to seek out a new endeavor."
"After 23 years in Congress serving the people of AZ, I have decided not to seek re-election this year. It has been an honor," he tweeted. "Thank you."
A miner's son who began his professional life teaching high school chemistry, Pastor represents a district that includes southern Phoenix and Glendale.
The Arizona Republic says there will be no shortage of candidates to fill his seat:
"The race for his safe Democratic seat is expected to become a free-for-all, drawing a host of candidates who have been preparing for his retirement for years. Minutes after Pastor's announcement, state Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, announced on Twitter he would enter the race."
The newspaper adds that Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox is also considering a run for Pastor's seat.
In a list of accomplishments on his website, Pastor notes his work on transit issues such as light rail. He has also been honored by the National Park Conservation Association and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda.
The website states that Pastor was the first Mexican-American to be elected to Congress by Arizona voters.
By deciding to leave Congress after this year, Pastor brought to 21 the number of House members who are retiring from office. Roll Call is keeping a tally of the "casualty list" from the current Congress; the site says 10 Democrats and 11 Republicans are retiring from the House, along with four Democrats and two Republicans in the Senate.
Another 17 members of Congress are seeking political seats other than their own, whether in the Senate or other levels of government, Roll Call says.