Sal is the youngest of nine children. He grew up in a family of small business owners, learning to operate a cash register at his mother’s toy store and his father’s repair shop before he could ride a bike. He has lived in Colorado his entire adult life, having moved to southwestern Colorado after driving cross-country with his father to visit his brother.
When it was time to leave, Sal realized Colorado was the place he wanted to live and he decided to stay. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in political science from Fort Lewis College, Sal lived in Durango for eight years where he was engaged in various community organizations and civic engagements. He received his Master’s Degree in American Political Theory from the Louisiana State University; paying for his school costs by tutoring students and being a teaching assistant.
Sal worked on behalf of Southern Colorado for close to decade before becoming a state representative. He was the director of U.S. Congressman John Salazar’s district offices across the state. In that capacity, Sal managed issues dear to rural Colorado, including water, education, health care, job creation, transportation, renewable energy and economic development. He held stakeholder meetings and helped Congressman Salazar institute an annual funding ban on the Army's Pinon Canyon maneuver site. Before joining John Salazar’s congressional office, Sal served as Salazar’s Legislative Aide in the Colorado House of Representatives.
In 2008, Sal was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives, District 46-Pueblo. During his two terms in the statehouse, Pace was selected by his colleagues to serve in leadership positions, including as the top ranking Democrat in the House, as Minority Leader. He also served as Vice-Chair of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, as well as on the Appropriations Committee, Local Government Committee and the Judiciary Committee. He worked in a bi-partisan fashion to fight for good paying jobs, stimulate the economy and bring accountability and transparency to government.
In January 2013, Sal was appointed to the Board of Pueblo County Commissioners. As Pueblo County Commissioner, he serves on the following boards and committees: Latino Chamber of Commerce, Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo Authority, Senior Resource Development Agency, Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center, Pueblo Area Council of Governments, Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, Desert Hawk at Pueblo West Management Board, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo Advisory Committee, National Association of Counties’ Finance and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, and Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control & Greenway District.
Sal is currently a member of Sons of Italy of Southern Colorado, Knights of Columbus, and the Cathedral of Sacred Heart Parish. He taught American government at Pueblo Community College and Colorado State University-Pueblo as an adjunct professor. He served on Pueblo City Schools’ Strategic Plan Core Team, was an organizer for Enable America, and was the Colorado Democratic Party Regional Director in 2002.
Sal is happily married to Marlene Valdez Pace. Both sides of Marlene’s family have lived in Southeastern Colorado for over a century, making Sal and Marlene’s children at least 6th generation Southeastern Colorado natives. Sal and Marlene have three small children- Wyatt, Carlo, and Alana.