Legislature adds Dems, and women
November 13, 2016
LAS VEGAS — A "blue wave" that rolled through Nevada this week has not only switched control of the Legislature from Republicans to Democrats, but it's ushered in a very different group of lawmakers than in 2015.
Democratic Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams said one of the things she's most excited about is the increase in the number of women and small business owners in the Assembly. The state Democratic party also touted a new historic milestone: African Americans Aaron Ford and Jason Frierson hold the top leadership posts in both the Senate and the Assembly.
Here's a look at the breakdown of Nevada's new crop of legislators.
POLITICAL PARTY: A conservative "red wave" during the 2014 election meant Republicans held an 11-10 majority in the Senate and a 25-17 majority in the Assembly.
An aggressive Democratic ground game focused on electing Hillary Clinton as president and Catherine Cortez Masto to the Senate helped shift the numbers lower on the ticket. The Assembly now has a 27-15 Democratic majority, while the Senate has an 11-10 Democratic majority.
Many of the 13 moderate Republicans who allied with Democrats to usher in a tax package last year won't be back in the Assembly in 2017. Four of them resigned their positions, five of them lost in elections, and four won re-election.
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GENDER: Nevada now has seven female senators, up from five last year, and 17 female Assembly members, compared with 16 last session.
"There is clearly a demand for women's leadership — the unprecedented slate of women elected to all levels of government in Nevada speaks to that," said Stephanie Schriock of EMILY's List, a group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights.
NEW FACES: Just two senators — Julia Ratti and Nicole Cannizzaro — have never served in a full legislative session before. There are many more freshmen in the Assembly, where 14 of the members have never served before in the Legislature.
That's less than 2015, when 17 Assembly members and three senators were newbies.
AGE: The median age of Assembly members is 48, which is the same as it was in 2015. The youngest Assembly member this cycle is freshman William McCurdy.
In the Senate, the median age is 50.
PROFESSION: The most popular job in the Assembly is lawyer — nine members claim the title. Seven say they're in education, and three have a background in law enforcement. If there's a medical emergency, call the one doctor or one paramedic in the lower chamber.
Five of the 21 senators are lawyers, two are teachers and one is a doctor.