Birthdate: Oct. 5, 1951
Birth Place: Grand Rapids, MI, United States
Residence: Ada, MI
Steve Pestka was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., the son of immigrants. His father survived Nazi concentration camps in Poland before settling in western Michigan. Pestka currently resides in Ada. The first person in his family to graduate from college, Pestka received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a law degree from the Detroit College of Law.
He became an assistant prosecuting attorney for Kent County. He also has helped run his family's business.
Pestka and his wife, Alicia, have a son.
Steve Pestka faces a daunting challenge, running as a Democrat in the 3rd Congressional District, a western Michigan district that has been safely Republican for nearly four decades. Anchored by Grand Rapids, it's the area that was represented by former President Gerald Ford.
Still, Pestka contends the race is winnable. He says freshman Republican Rep. Justin Amash is out of touch because of his libertarian beliefs. Pestka describes himself as a seasoned moderate willing to reach across party lines.
After a spirited campaign, Pestka defeated Trevor Thomas by 18 points in the August 2012 Democratic primary. Thomas, an aide to former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, drew her endorsement. Abortion rights were a contentious issue. Thomas, who is staunchly pro-abortion rights, attacked Pestka for votes he cast as a state legislator that critics said could have cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Pestka says his opinions on abortion have evolved over the years and that while he personally opposes abortion, he does not want it made illegal. He was endorsed by Sen. Carl Levin, among other Democratic officeholders.
Pestka served three terms on the Kent County Commission, from 1992 to 1996. He was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1998 and 2000. Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Pestka to a circuit judgeship in Kent County in 2003. He won an election to retain the judgeship in 2004 but stepped down in 2009 to help his father run the family business.
Source: Associated Press