About Harry Reid To understand Harry Reid, you must look to the small mining town of Searchlight, Nevada. There in the desert, more than an hour away from the bright lights of Las Vegas, is where he was born and raised. Searchlight is where Harry Reid watched his father work as a hardrock miner. It’s where he attended a school with one teacher for eight grades. And it’s where he learned Nevada values like hard work, opportunity and independence. Today Harry Reid is the Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, a man who commands the respect of colleagues from both parties, and a powerful advocate for Nevada’s middle-class families. Every day Sen. Reid puts his leadership position to work to deliver meaningful results for Nevadans. But he still lives in Searchlight … and he is still guided by the lessons and values he learned there. The Las Vegas Sun newspaper summarized Reid’s story by saying that he “has gone from underdog to Senate’s top dog.” Parade Magazine, the nation’s largest weekly magazine, identified Senator Reid as one of a handful of leaders in Washington with “integrity and guts.” Since Nevadans elected him to the Senate in 1986, Harry Reid has developed a reputation as a consensus builder and a skillful legislator. Even his Republican colleagues praise his reasoned, balanced approach. Senate Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has said, “We all respect Senator Reid. He is one of the moderate voices around here who tries to get things to work.” And former GOP Leader Trent Lott said, “Harry Reid is out there finding a solution. I enjoy working with him very much.” Reid will work with anyone and everyone to address the issues important to Nevada and enjoys a close working relationship with Nevada’s junior U.S. Senator, Republican John Ensign. Despite belonging to different political parties, they share a commitment to Nevada families and businesses. In fact, Senators Reid and Ensign co-host a weekly breakfast in the U.S. Capitol every Thursday that the Senate is in session, and Nevadans visiting Washington D.C. are always welcome. After Nevadans re-elected Reid to a third Senate term in 1998, he was chosen by his colleagues to serve as the Assistant Democratic Leader, also known as the “Whip.” And after he won a fourth term in 2004 by a wide margin, he was unanimously elected Senate Democratic Leader. Harry Reid isn’t afraid to speak his mind - but he isn’t afraid to listen, either. Like the desert country that formed him, he doesn’t cry out for attention. He’s soft spoken - but when he talks, people listen.
He has earned the trust of both Democrats and Republicans, and his reputation for integrity and fairness has given the small state of Nevada a powerful voice in Congress. Standing Tall For Nevada Since he came to the Senate in 1986, Harry Reid has built a strong record of accomplishments for the people of Nevada. As the fastest growing state in the nation, Nevada has needs no other state has and Reid is using his leadership position to meet them. Sen. Reid is is leading the way on solutions to keep Nevadans in their homes and end the foreclosure crisis, which is weakening our state’s economy. He is a leader on reducing the cost of health care, while increasing the number of Nevadans who have medical insurance. And he is working to create thousands of good-paying Nevada jobs by making the state the leader in renewable energy. Reid has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to make Nevada safer. That money puts more police on the street, ensures Nevada’s military bases have everything they need, and is being used to build the long overdue the Southern Nevada Veterans Hospital. As an avid sportsman, Reid has long been a champion of Nevada’s outdoors. He created Great Basin National Park, Nevada’s only national park. He created the Lake Tahoe Summit, which brings leaders of all political stripes together to preserve Lake Tahoe’s clarity. He is also working to preserve Nevada’s outdoors by developing Nevada’s solar, wind, and geothermal energy industries. While some are taking away funding from Nevada schools, Sen. Reid is using his leadership position to deliver more federal funding to invest in Nevada students, reduce class sizes, and lower the dropout rate. He also helped make college more affordable by increasing grant aid and cutting student loan interest rates in half. . A Focus on Family Born in the small rural mining town of Searchlight, Harry Reid grew up in a small cabin without indoor plumbing, and attended a two-room elementary school. As a small boy he would accompany his father, Harry Reid Sr., for long days deep underground in the mines. His father was a hardrock miner with an eighth grade education and his mother never completed high school; yet the youngest of Harry and Inez Reid's four sons would go on to achieve the American dream. Searchlight had no high school, so after eighth grade, Harry began attending Basic High School in Henderson, where he boarded with local families during the school week. It was at Basic that he met Landra Gould, who became his high-school sweetheart. In 1959, two years after they had graduated from Basic, Harry and Landra were married. In 1961, their first child and only daughter – Lana was born. Son Rory was born in 1962, and three more brothers followed - Leif, Josh, and Key. Basic High was also where Reid met a teacher named Mike O’Callaghan who would play many roles in his life: teacher, boxing coach, political mentor, trusted advisor and best friend. After high school, some businessmen in Henderson helped him go on to college, an act of generosity that Harry
Reid would work hard to repay in the coming years. He graduated from Utah State University in 1961 and went on to get a law degree from George Washington University. During these years as a law student, Reid supported his young family by working nights as a U.S. Capitol police officer. After completing law school, the Reids headed back to Henderson where Harry served as the City Attorney, revising the city charter and working on extending Henderson's boundaries by acquiring federal land. His outstanding record helped him win an election to the Nevada State Assembly in 1968, at age 28. In Carson City, the young assemblyman introduced the first air pollution legislation in Nevada’s history and also worked on laws to protect consumers. In 1970, at the age of 30, Harry Reid became the youngest Lieutenant Governor in Nevada history, winning election as Governor Mike O’Callaghan’s running mate. In 1977 he was appointed Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, where for five years he made headlines with his legendary and unrelenting fight to clean up Nevada's gaming industry. Reid returned to his private law practice for a few years, then won the first of two terms in the United States House of Representatives in 1982. In the House, he championed issues important to Nevada families, introducing the Taxpayer Bill of Rights as well as legislation to protect Nevada's wilderness. He was elected to the Senate in 1986, and re-elected in 1992, 1998 and 2004. He has served as the chairman or senior Democratic member on several important committees and subcommittees. Reid is a tireless worker, and it isn’t unusual for him to be the first Senator of either party to arrive at the Capitol in the morning and the last to go home at night. Despite the demands of his career in government, Harry Reid's family has always been his first priority. The bonds forged in the tight-knit family have only grown stronger as the Reid children have grown up, embarked on their own careers, and started their own families. Today, Senator Reid and Landra are the proud grandparents of 16 grandchildren.