Rosen Pays Tribute to Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Floor Speech


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Senator Rosen: “No matter the issue, if it impacted Nevada, you can be sure Senator Reid would do anything to deliver for our state. He was a voice for all Nevadans, and if you ever went to an event for Senator Reid, he would remind you by making sure ‘Home Means Nevada’ – that’s our state song – it was sung in honor of our beloved state.”

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spoke on the Senate floor to honor the life and memory of former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Senator Reid represented Nevada for five terms in the U.S. Senate, including eight years as Majority Leader. Watch the full speech here.

Below are Senator Rosen’s floor remarks as delivered:

Mr. President, I rise today to honor the life and memory of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Mason Reid.

To some in this chamber, Senator Reid was a colleague, a mentor, a friend.

To me, and to so many Nevadans, he was also a source of inspiration and pride.

His life, coming from the humblest of beginnings, is the definition of the American Dream.

During his decades of public service – from the state Assembly to the Lieutenant Governor’s office, to chairing the Nevada Gaming Commission, he became the most powerful leader in Congress – this former boxer from a tiny town called Searchlight always put Nevada first.

Senator Reid served five terms in this very chamber. And what he accomplished during those three decades here – particularly as Majority Leader – is remarkable.

Senator Reid stopped Yucca Mountain… he made sure that Nevada would not become the nation’s nuclear waste dump.

He is the reason we passed the Affordable Care Act into law, providing quality, affordable health care to tens of millions of Americans.

He did more than anyone to rescue Nevada’s economy from the depths of the Great Recession.

He passed crucial Wall Street reform to hold the Big Banks accountable for that economic crisis and prevent a future one.

He established Nevada’s first National Park, Great Basin National Park.

He saved Social Security from being privatized.

He was a fearless champion for bold action to stop climate change.

And he was a tireless fighter for comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act.

And because Senator Reid celebrated our state’s diversity and recognized its importance, Nevada is an early state… the first in the West when it comes to choosing each party’s nominee for the White House.

No matter the issue, if it impacted Nevada, you can be sure Senator Reid would do anything to deliver for our state.

He was a voice for all Nevadans, and if you ever went to an event for Senator Reid, he would remind you by making sure “Home Means Nevada” – that’s our state song – it was sung in honor of our beloved State.

This is how he got things done. 

He was blunt, he was direct… He was a real straight shooter… He didn’t mince words; when he identified a problem, he would work relentlessly to find a solution.

And as so many of us here know, you could try as hard as you wanted to, but you could never leave the conversation, or hang up the phone, before he did!

He said what he needed to and he was on to his next piece of work.

And I want to share the best advice Senator Reid ever gave to me… He said this: Take every call… Listen to every person… whether you agree with them or not, and then tell them when you’re with them, and tell them when you’re not. Be open and be honest in your conversations — and those are words I try to live by here, every day. They were things Senator Reid was respected for. 

And Senator Reid, well he also knew that the constituent services, the work we do with our teams, it literally saves lives and it directly helps families and it touches so many people. 

It is the most important and personal work we do, and through that work, it can often become the foundation for legislation at the federal level.

When I was thinking about whether or not to run for the Senate, Senator Reid invited me and my husband Larry over to his home to talk with him about making that decision.

Well, in Senator Reid style, instead of taking the lead to give us advice and tell us what to do, he actually asked his wife Landra to talk to us about her experience.

Well, anyone who’s met Landra Reid knows just what an incredible woman she is. Senator Reid was a family man, and he adored her and their children, and of course grandchildren, and great-grandchildren so very much.

And, as my friend Brian Greenspun wrote the other day in the Las Vegas Sun: “To Harry Reid the greatest accomplishment was his family.”

In Senator Reid’s living room, Landra told me and my husband how she juggled being the mom of not one, not two, not three, not four, five kids, while Harry was working as a Capitol Police officer to put himself through law school, while running tough campaigns, and while serving long days and nights in Washington. Needless to say, there’s not much that can top that.

And so, the Reids provided my family with inspiration I needed as I was considering what a life in the public view would look like. 

Their love for each other, their journey and ability to make it work over six decades… raising kids, keeping their love strong… well, it showed me how important it was to have a strong family, of course, and friends as the foundation for this work of public service. 

You know, we spend a lot of time here in Washington talking about politics every day, but it’s the personal things, at the end of the day, we all know really matter.

And that’s the work that Senator Reid did for Nevadans… He fought to make families’ lives just a little bit easier – whether they knew it or not – so that they could focus on what matters, what was most important to them.

I want to honor Senator Reid for his lifetime of fighting the good fight for our state. He helped make Nevada what it is today, a world-class destination and a truly a great place to live, work, and raise a family.

And I want to thank Landra and the entire Reid family for sharing their husband, their father, their grandfather with Nevada and the nation.

The American people have benefited so much because of their sacrifices and his willingness to serve. 

Thank you. Thank you Senator Reid.