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Profile of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate Majority Leader


Profile of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Senate Majority Leader

US Senator Harry Reid

Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada:

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada was first elected to the U.S. Senate in November 1986, and won reelection in 2010 over Tea Party Republican extremist Sharon Angle for a fifth senatorial term.

Reid was elected Senate Majority Leader for the 112th Congress (2011-2012), a leadership post he held in the two previous terms.

Over more than two decades in the Senate, tough-minded Reid has a reputation as a consensus-builder and an unusually adept legislator, especially during the Obama administration by forging and passing bills on health care reform, financial regulation reform, and economic stimulus funding.

Recent Notability:

Elected Senate Democratic leader in November 2004, tough-minded Reid successfully halted much Republican legislation, despite having only 44 Democrats in the 109th Congress.

Reid was elected to be Senate Majority Leader for the 110th Congress, and reelected to lead Senate Democrats in the 111th Congress, from 2009-2010. Reid was first election leader of Senate Democrats in 2004.

Sen. Reid's tough-minded agility as a legislator has been key to passing President Obama's legislative agenda, including health care reform, financial regulatory reform, and in 2009, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.

Major Areas of Interest:

Senator Reid is best known as a tenacious advocate for educational opportunities and standards, equal opportunity for all, and issues vital to senior citizens, such as Social Security, accessible and affordable high-quality healthcare and prescription drug coverage. He's also a nationally recognized leader on transportation and energy issues.

Prior Experience:

Harry Reid worked as a police officer to support himself through law school. After graduation, he worked as City Attorney for Henderson, Nevada. He was elected to the Nevada State Assembly in 1968. In 1977, he received a prestigious appointment as Chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Commission, where he was legendary in his tough crusade to clean-up Nevada's casino industry. He served in the US House of Representatives from 1983 to 1987.

Personal Data:

Birth - December 2, 1939 in Searchlight, Nevada

Education - BA from Utah State University, JD from George Washington University

Family - Married, five children, 15 grandchildren

Faith - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ("Mormon")

Interesting Personal Note:

Harry Reid was born and grew up in rural Nevada, the son of a hardscrabble rock miner and a mother who took in laundry to make ends meet. Their home had no hot water and no indoor plumbing. His small town had no high school, so he boarded with families 45 miles from home in Henderson while he attended weekday classes. He attended Utah State University only after hometown business owners pitched in to pay his tuition.

Memorable Quotes:

"Simply put, music can heal people. Music helps all types of people to remain young forever."

"I'm not a big Greenspan fan. I voted against him two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Wshington."

"Embryonic stem cell research provides us the hope of new cures and therapies and we should embrace this research oportunity and not allow radical ideology to stand in the way. President Bush has made the wrong choice, putting politics ahead of safe, responsible science"

"I personally believe that much of what goes on in America today is governed by wealth and power. ... But one thing they do not control –wealth and power does not control the Internet. Through the Internet, regular ordinary people have a voice. That’s why I go out of my way to communicate any way that I can on the Internet and I think the blogs are a tremendously important way for the American public to find out what’s really going on."

"The most successful social program in the history of the world is being hijacked by Wall Street. Yes, Social Security is a good program. And if the president has some ideas about trying to improve it, I'll talk to him, and we as Democrats will. But we are not going to let Wall Street hijack Social Security. It won't happen. They are trying to destroy Social Security....They are trying to destroy Social Security by giving this money to the fat cats on Wall Street, and I think it's wrong. " NBC News' Meet the Press, December 5, 2004

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