Harry Mason Reid (born December 2, 1939) is the senior United States Senator from Nevada, serving since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, he has been the Senate Majority Leader since January 2007, having previously served as Minority Leader and Minority and Majority Whip. Previously, Reid was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Nevada's 1st congressional district, and served in Nevada local and state government as city attorney of Henderson, a state legislator, Lieutenant Governor, and chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Reid was born in Searchlight, Nevada, the son of Inez and Harry Reid, a miner in the camp 50 miles southeast of Las Vegas. He attended Basic High School in Henderson, Nevada, where he played football and was an amateur boxer. While at Basic he met future Nevada governor Mike O'Callaghan, who was a teacher there. Reid attended Southern Utah University and Utah State University.
Harry Reid graduated from George Washington University Law School with a J.D. while working for the United States Capitol Police. He returned to Nevada after law school and served as Henderson city attorney before being elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1968. In 1970, at age 30, Reid was chosen by O'Callaghan as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada.
U.S. Senator: 1987–present
In 1986, Reid won the Democratic nomination for the seat of retiring two-term incumbent Paul Laxalt.
He defeated former at-large Congressman Jim Santini, a Democrat who had turned Republican, in the November election. He coasted to reelection in 1992. However, he barely defeated 1st District Congressman John Ensign in 1998 in the midst of a statewide Republican sweep. In 2004, Reid won reelection with 61 percent of the vote, gaining the endorsement of several Republicans. Ensign was elected to Nevada's other Senate seat in 2000. He and Reid have a very good relationship, despite their bruising contest in 1998. The two frequently work together on Nevada issues.
Family and personal life
Reid and his wife have five children, one of whom, Rory Reid, is an elected Commissioner for Clark County, Nevada, and another who recently ran for municipal office in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.
Reid is a first generation member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reid and his wife, who was born to Jewish parents, converted to Mormonism while Reid was a college student. He stated in an interview with Brigham Young University's Daily Universe that "I think it is much easier to be a good member of the Church and a Democrat than a good member of the Church and a Republican." He went on to say that the Democrats' emphasis on helping others, as opposed to what he considers Republican dogma to the contrary, is the reason he's a Democrat. He delivered a speech at BYU to about 20,000 students on October 9, 2007, in which he expressed his opinion that Democratic values mirror Mormon values.