Late Senate leader Harry Reid remembered as `man of action'


WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidents and ex-Senate colleagues are lauding longtime Majority Leader Harry Reid, who died Tuesday, for a political legacy that included an expansion of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans and for helping secure an economic aid package and banking overhaul following the 2008 financial crisis.

Reid, 82, died at home in Henderson, Nevada, of complications from pancreatic cancer, according to Landra Reid, his wife of 62 years.

President Biden said in a proclamation that the U.S. flag will be flown at half-staff at the White House and other federal buildings on the day of the Nevada Democrat’s internment. As of press time Wednesday, Reid’s family had not announced memorial service plans.

“He was a man of action, and a man of his word — guided by faith, loyalty and unshakeable resolve,” Biden said of Reid.

Over a 34-year career in Washington, Reid served as Senate majority leader during the presidencies of Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama, a chaotic period that included a crippling recession and the Republican takeover of the House after the 2010 elections.

Reid retired in 2016 after an accident left him blind in one eye.

In many respects, his legacy is tied to that of Obama’s. In a letter to Reid before Reid’s death, Obama said he wouldn’t have been president without the Nevadan’s support: “As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other — a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy,” Obama said.

Republicans cited Reid’s toughness and tenacity: “The nature of Harry’s and my jobs brought us into frequent and sometimes intense conflict over politics and policy,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “But I never doubted that Harry was always doing what he earnestly, deeply felt was right.”

Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada. His father was an alcoholic who died by suicide at 58; his mother was a laundress in a bordello. Reid grew up in a small cabin without indoor plumbing. He hitchhiked to Basic High School in Henderson about 40 miles from his home, and that’s where he met his wife. At Utah State University, the couple became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The future senator put himself through George Washington University’s law school in the District of Columbia by working nights as a U.S. Capitol police officer.

Elected to the U.S. House in 1982, Reid served in Congress longer than anyone else in Nevada’s history.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Unapologetically lied about Romney's taxes to damage his campaign.

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