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Nevada Government & Politics
Contemporary Nevada

Other Political Figures

Nevada Political Leaders, 1964 - Present

Walter Stephan Baring, Jr.  was born in Goldfield, Nevada, September 9, 1911.  He graduated from Reno High School in 1929 and from the University of Nevada in 1934.  Baring's political career began in 1936 when he was elected chair of the Democratic Central Committee of Washoe County, Nevada, and elected to the Nevada Assembly, where he served from 1936 until his enlistment in the U.S. Navy in 1942.  Baring was a Reno City Councilman in 1947 and 1948, then successfully ran for and served in the U.S. Congress from 1949-1953 when he was defeated for reelection.  After several unsuccessful campaigns Baring was again elected to Congress, where he served from 1975-1973.

Walter  Baring died in Los Angeles, California, July 13, 1975 and was buried in Reno.

Alan Harvey Bible was born in Lovelock, Pershing County, Nevada, November 20, 1909.  He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1930 and from Georgetown University law school in 1934.

Bible returned to Nevada where he was district attorney of Storey County, 1935-1938; deputy attorney general of Nevada, 1938; and State Attorney, 1942-1950.  Bible, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954 and served until his resignation in 1974.  Bible was chair of the Committee on District Columbia, Joint Committee on Washington Metropolitan Problems, and the Select Committee on Small Business.  After retiring from the Senate Bible practiced law in Auburn, California, until his death on September 12, 1988.  He is buried in Reno.

Republican Jim Hubert Bilbray was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 19, 1938.  He attended Brigham Young University; the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and graduated from American University in 1962, where he also received his law degree in 1964.  He served in the U.S. Army Reserve in the Nevada National Guard from 1955-1963.

Bilbray practiced law in Las Vegas until he was appointed department district attorney for Clark County, 1965-1967; chief legal counsel, Clark County juvenile court, 1967-1968; and alternate judge, City of Las Vegas, 1978-1980.  Bilbray served in the Nevada Senate from 1980-1986 and was elected to the U.S. Congress where he served from 1987-1995.

Howard Cannon was born in St. George, Utah, in 1912.  He graduated from Arizona State Teachers College in 1933, received his law degree in 1937, and was elected Washington County, Utah, District Attorney in 1940.  Cannon served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II, receiving a Distinguished Flying Cross after he was shot down over Holland and succeeded in reaching Allied lines.

Cannon, a Democrat, moved to Las Vegas after the war where he practiced law and was elected City Attorney in 1949.  Cannon ran unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives in 1956 and successfully for the U.S. Senate in 1958, serving until 1982 when Republican Chic Hecht defeated him.  In the Senate, Cannon served on the Select Committee on Standards and Conduct, Committee on Rules and Administration, and Joint Committee on Inaugural Arrangements.  Cannon worked as a political consultant and lobbyist from 1982-1995.  He is also a retired major general in the Air Force Reserve.

Harry Reid was born in the small mining town of Searchlight, Nev.  He graduated from Basic High School in Henderson, where he met his future wife, Landra Gould.  The generosity of the community enabled Reid to attend Utah State University where he graduated in 1961.  Reid earned a law degree from George Washington University; then returned to Nevada to serve as Henderson City Attorney; State Assemblyman, 1969-1971; Chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission, 1977-1982; Representative to the U.S. Congress, 1983-1987; and U.S. Senator, 1987-present.

Reid serves as the Democratic Whip in the Senate and has developed a reputation as a consensus builder.  His interests include the rights of children, families, and workers; reversal of Nevada's school dropout rate; the Patient's Bill of Rights; increased funding for cancer research, suicide prevention, and mental health initiatives; senior citizens' issues; preservation of clean air and water; allocation of Truckee River waters; and keeping nuclear waste out of Nevada.

Jim David Santini was born in Reno, Nevada, August 13, 1937.  He graduated from Manogue High School in Reno, 1955; the University of Nevada, Reno, in 1959; and Hastings College of Law, San Francisco, in 1962.  Santini served in the U.S. Army from 1963-1966, then returned to Las Vegas where he was deputy district attorney, 1966-1968; public defender, 1968-1970, justice of the peace, 1970-1972; district court judge of Clark County, 1972-1974; and delegate to the Democratic National convention, 1974.

Santini, a Democrat, was elected to the U.S. Congress from 1975-1983, then ran unsuccessfully for the Senate in 1982 and 1986.  He currently practices law in Washington, D.C.

Barbara Farrell Dillon Vucanovich was born in 1921 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.  She attended Manhattanville College of the Sacred Heart in New York from 1938-1939.  She moved to Nevada in 1949 where she owned and operated two businesses:  a travel agency and an Evelyn Wood speed-reading franchise.  A conservative Republican, Vucanovich became active in Nevada politics and was active in the Republican Women's Club of Reno and Nevada Federation of Republican Women's Clubs.  Vucanovich ran Paul Laxalt's 1964 northern Nevada campaign for Senate and his campaign for Nevada governor in 1966.

Vucanovich ran for Nevada's second congressional seat when it was created in 1982 and served until her retirement in 1996; the first woman elected to a federal office in Nevada.  In the House of Representatives she served on many important committees, including Appropriations and Interior.

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Library and Archives