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 Democratic 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.
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 enjoys a close working relationship with Nevada’s junior U.S. Senator, Republican John Ensign. Despite the fact that they belong 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.
Reid is using that position to stand up for values such as opportunity, personal responsibility, and security – the same values he learned as a boy in Searchlight.
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.
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