Long-term Democrat Harry Reid died on Tuesday, according to a statement from his wife. Reid had been suffering from pancreatic cancer from years. He was known for his tough battles in the legislature and for passing landmark legislation including what is generally called Obamacare. Tributes pored in from President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others. Former President Obama shared a letter he had written to Reid earlier, where he credited him for making him president.
Landra Reid released a statement where she said that she was heartbroken to announce the peaceful passing of her husband Harry Reid, who was a former Senate Majority Leader. She also said that he was surrounded by his family and had fought a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer for four years.
Reid, who was 82 years-old when he died, rose to heights from humble beginnings in Searchlight, Nevada. His father was a hard-rock miner and his mother did laundry for local brothels, according to his memoir “The Good Fight.”
He said that he attended school in Henderson, Nevada, sometimes hitchhiking the route which was 45-miles long. He was a boxer in his youth. He attended Utah State University. He became an officer of the United States Capitol Police in Washington D.C. and also pursued a law degree at George Washington University, while working.
After completing his degree in law he returned to Nevada. He was the lieutenant governor from 1971 to 1975. He then became the chair of the Gaming Commission in Nevada, where was targeted by the mob, according to his memoir.
In 1982 he won the general election for a congressional district that was created after the 1980 census. He also won in 1984 and won an open seat in 1986. He was the Democratic Whip from 1999 to 2005 and Democratic Senate Majority and Minority leader from 2005 to 2017, when he retired.
Although he was considered to be a polarizing figure, he was cheered by the Democrats. He encouraged Barack Obama to run for presidency. He was instrumental in bringing in a $800 billion economic stimulus plan during the Great Recession.
Harry Reid will be remembered for many social initiatives but by far the most important one will be the Affordable Care Act which is commonly called Obamacare. He used a little known method called reconciliation to bypass a Republican filibuster.
Harry Reid improved the state of Nevada but also acknowledged how it had helped him to rise in the political firmament. According to a report in CNN, Reid said, “It’s a long way from Searchlight to Washington. But I didn’t get there alone. I got there because of you, Nevadans.”
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