|Nevada Government & Politics|
Mathews became involved in politics to attempt to correct some of the problems she found in her own neighborhood. She was elected to the Reno City Council in 1991. In 1995 she became the first African-American to serve as a State Senator in Nevada.
Actually, Mathews was also the first African-American to serve on the Reno City Council, but she doesn't think race is particularly important. She has said, "If you wear race like a chip on your shoulder, someone is going to knock it off. I push education. Get qualified. Whatever you want to be, be prepared to do it. Study and work hard."
Mathews was concerned about
crime, welfare reform, and education, among many other issues. She
has stated: "Nothing can be a higher priority than educating our
young people." She has worked toward that goal. An elementary
school in Washoe County, Bernice Mathews Elementary, was named for her.
Nevada State Library and Archives