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One of the longest-serving Senate Majority Leaders, Harry M. Reid, has passed away at the age of 82. Sadly the Nevada Democrat died in his home in Henderson on December 28. He was a political force during the presidencies of Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Born Harry Mason Reid on Dec. 2, 1936, in Searchlight, Nevada. The town he grew up in was so small that he had the same teacher for eight school grades. His father worked in the gold mines and his mother did the laundry for the local bordello, according to Encyclopedia of World Biography.
The town did not have its own high school so Reid had to hitchhike every week to Henderson which was 40 miles away. He would spend the week with family so he could attend school. One of his teachers taught him how to box and later became a political ally.
He met his wife Landra Gould in high school. When Reid was 20 and Gould 19 they eloped. Her parents initially disapproved of their relationship due to him not being Jewish. However, after their daughter called them from Las Vegas to tell them of the marriage they supported her decision.
Afterward, he went to Utah to attend college. There he boxed as an amateur middleweight. Later, he and his family moved to Washington, D.C. to attend George Washington University law school. Money was tight for the young couple; they had two small children to raise at the time. Reid worked six days a week as a U.S. Capitol Police Officer.
After graduating from law school he moved his family back to Henderson. Once there he became the city government’s attorney.
He was elected to the Nevada state assembly in 1968. The following year he began his term. One of the first things he did was criticize the telephone company for providing the citizens with bad service. This was one of the reasons he was considered a consumer advocate.
A couple of years later, his friend Mike O’Callaghan and fellow politician decided to run for governor of Nevada. O’Callaghan invited him to run for lieutenant governor which Reid accepted — both of whom were elected. Four years later he ran for United States Senate. Reid almost lost the election due to running a negative campaign.
Years later he admitted that he “was young and impulsive and attacked everybody. Every day, we would get up and find out who we were going to attack that day.”
From 2007 to 2014 he held the title of Senate majority leader. Reid worked hard to pass the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act in 2008. This bill helped to shore up banks and other financial institutions threatened by the subprime mortgage crisis.
Throughout his lengthy career, he helped establish many bills which helped save the Nation’s economy. Reid formed strong bonds with everyone he worked with.
He is survived by his loved ones and friends. May he rest in peace.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Washington Post: Harry M. Reid, pugnacious Senate majority leader, dies at 82; by Michael H. Brown
Britannica: Harry Reid United States senator; by Chelsey Parrot-Sheffer
Encyclopedia of World Biography: Harry Reid Biography
Top and Featured Courtesy of Senate Democrats’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Victoria Pickering’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License