Catherine Cortez Masto, 1964

  • Catherine-Cortez-Masto-WWP

Woman Category: Law and Politics & LeadersWoman Tags: Latina Women, Lawyer, and Senator

  • HerStory

    A lawyer and Democratic politician served as the 32nd attorney general of Nevada. The first Latina in the US Senate and the first woman to represent Nevada.

    Catherine Cortez was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. She studied finance at the University of Nevada, Reno, and then law at the Gonzaga University School of Law. In 1995, she became the chief of staff of the former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, as well as served as an assistant to the United States Attorney General. During that time, she married Paul Masto, a former Special Agent in the US Secret Service.
    In 1999, Cortez Masto moved to Washington, DC, for a few years to work as a federal prosecutor. In 2006, 42 years old Cortez Masto won the state Attorney General’s elections, serving full two-term after winning the re-election of 2010, the second woman to serve as Nevada Attorney General. In this position, she focused on social issues such as sex trafficking, elder abuse, domestic violence, and the methamphetamine epidemic. As state attorney general, Cortez Masto investigated a nationwide mortgage-fraud, which the settlement of the case brought to the state more than $1.9 billion.
    In 2016, Cortez Masto ran for a seat at the US Senate. In her campaign, she asserted topics such as immigration reform, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and raising the minimum wage. She won with 47% of the votes, and when she took office, Cortez Masto became the first Latina in the US Senate and the first woman to represent Nevada. While in office, she advocates for gun control, pro-choice, and federal government limitations on greenhouse gas emissions. She is a member of numerous committees, including the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Indian Affairs. In her efforts to promote women and children, Cortez Masto introduced two bills addressing missing, murdered, and trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, as well as introduced the Interdiction of Protection of Child Victims of Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act, providing tools for law enforcement officers to recognize and rescue exploited children.

    “…the people that we hire in government should be just as diverse as the communities we represent.”

    “…the people that we hire in government should be just as diverse as the communities we represent.”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • Her mother is of Italian descent, and her father is Mexican.
    • Her father was the head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and was the one to greenlighting the city’s slogan “What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas.”
    • She is the first in her family to graduate from college.
    • She is a hiker.
  • More About Her Legacy

    * Heroes Award by the Alliance of Retired Americans (2020)
    * Named a “Friend of the Farm Bureau” by the American Farm Bureau Federation (2020)

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Latina Women, Lawyer, Senator

    WATCH: Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s full speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention

    Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto addressed Democrats on Aug. 17 during the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Kasich ran for the Republican presidential nominee in 2016 but lost it to Donald Trump. The coronavirus pandemic upended both parties’ traditional conventions. Instead of in-person events, the program each night features a number of speakers and musical performances virtually across the country.

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  • Citations and Additional References:
    Official website.
    Ballotpedia website.