Harry Reid will be lying in state at the United States Capitol, where his colleagues and friends will pay tribute to a gritty Nevada mining town boy who rose from rags to riches as the most powerful person in the U.S. Senate.
On Wednesday, former State Department official Thomas Anthony Reid will be recognized in the Capitol Rotunda under COVID-19 restrictions. He passed away last month at age 82 after battling pancreatic cancer for four years.
Harry Reid was the Senate majority leader and longest-serving Nevadan in Congress, as well as two U.S. presidents. During one of the chamber’s more momentous legislative sessions, he guided it through the recession and Obama’s historic health care initiative.
Former Vice President Joe Biden referred to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid as “a great American who looked at the challenges of the world and believed it was within our power to do good, to do right.”
During a funeral service in Las Vegas last week, Biden, Obama, and others recalled one of Reid’s most famous features: his infuriatingly abrupt tendency to hang up on folks, even presidents, rather than saying goodbye properly.
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Reid was a grinder, determined and tenacious. He spoke rarely, but when he did, his few words were frequently flinty and fiery. The senator was not afraid to go up against presidents (he referred to George W. Bush as a “loser”), attack the energy industry (“coal makes us sick
In the retirement of former Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid, Biden should aim for three weeks to attempt to work with Republicans, according to Gowdy. if not, Biden should seek to modify the Senate’s filibuster rules so that elections and voting rights bills can be passed by a simple majority in order for them to have any hope of passing, said
“It’s going to happen, he’s going to have to move in and get rid of the filibuster at some point,” Reid remarked.
His father, a hard-rock miner who later killed himself, was from Searchlight, Nevada; his mother washed laundry at home for bordellos.
(He and his pals would go swimming in a brothel’s pool.) “Searchlight was a place that had seen its better days,” he said.
His family had no religion, and the tiny village had no churches. However, a photo of President Franklin D. Roosevelt hanging in the Reid house would later influence his political career.
After graduating from high school by hitchhiking 40 miles, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while pursuing his education and law degree.
He was a professional boxer who once leveled a punch at his father-in-law after being rejected for a date with Landra Gould, who would later become his wife. They were married for 62 years before divorcing.
Reid was first elected to the House in 1982 and was reelected in 1984, when he served for 30 years. He spent a decade as the Senate Democratic leader during that stretch.
He also wrote Nevada’s new map by increasing public assets, putting a halt to the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site outside of Las Vegas, and securing national monument status around artist Michael Heizer’s “City” installation in the desert. He quietly secured federal funding for UFO investigation.
Reid was a man of few words, and he frequently used notes to communicate instead to family, coworkers, and a Nevada student advocate who had inquired about immigration reform. He fought for the Dream Act and Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to safeguard undocumented minors in the United States from deportation.
Reid erected a Democratic legacy for his state as his influence grew, organizing Nevada’s early presidential primary. He left behind a political machine that was known as the “Reid Machine” because to its long-term capacity to elect future Democratic leaders.
In response to a health incident at home that caused him to fall and necessitated his retirement, Harry Reid announced he would not run for reelection in 2016.
In his final address to the Senate, he acknowledged that many people would not have done what he had. But before he departed, he offered some words of wisdom to those wondering how he managed to leave Searchlight and end up in Washington.
“I didn’t make it because of my good looks. I didn’t make it because I’m a genius. I achieved it because I gave it my all,” Reid added. “Whatever you want to attempt, work as hard as possible to achieve your goal.”