This month, we celebrate Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the many strong and determined women who have had a significant impact in shaping our country and state. I would like to take the time to remember a dear friend and one of Nevada’s most-treasured elected officials, Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich, who was the first woman to represent Nevada in the United States House of Representatives for 14 years.
When I first visited Washington, DC, Barbara invited me to join her for lunch in the Congressional dining hall, even though I was a total stranger. It was a kind gesture that I will never forget. As the first woman elected to represent Nevada in Congress, Barbara was a dedicated and effective legislator admired by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She was also the first person to represent Nevada’s Second Congressional District, which I was later privileged to represent in the United States House of Representatives. Barbara was a role model to me and to countless other Nevadans. I can say without hesitation that I continue to aspire to the high standards she set while representing Nevada in Washington, DC.
During her time in the United States House of Representatives, Barbara was a vigorous advocate for many important issues including breast cancer research. As a breast cancer survivor, she went on to champion funding for early screening, detection, and treatment. She was also the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, only the second woman ever to chair an appropriations subcommittee at the time. As Chairwoman, she was a strong and effective voice for America’s brave men and women in uniform. She also played a pivotal role in protecting Nevada’s vast resources while serving on the House Interior Committee, lining up support to create the Great Basin National Park in 1986.
Besides being an admired and beloved public servant, Barbara was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and a proud Nevadan. I will never forget the tremendous impact she had on our state. This month, I am proud to reflect upon the great work that Barbara accomplished, as well as the public service of many other distinguished women who contributed so much to our country and the Silver State.+