Women in charge as Nevada Senate opens 2023 Legislature in Carson City

Women in charge as Nevada Senate opens 2023 Legislature in Carson City

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the Nevada Legislature got under way in Carson City on Monday, leaders in the Senate took a moment to make note of history being made.

In remarks from the floor, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, described a “quiet moment” that gave her pause in the hallway of the Legislature. As she saw her photo on the wall alongside the photo of Senate President Pro-Tem Pat Spearman, she was moved that it’s the first time both positions are held by women.

The photos had been put up without ceremony. “I was struck by that quiet moment of history being made,” Cannizzaro said.

Nevada is blazing trails in leadership that haven’t happened everywhere. After the state’s voters elected the first female-majority legislature in the nation in 2021, Nevada repeated history this session. Colorado became the second state, electing a female majority in November.

“People may tire of hearing about it,” Cannizzaro said, but it’s not the only area where Nevada is making history. And Nevadans should be proud of that, she said.

“We have an incredibly diverse legislature no matter what metric you pick,” Cannizzaro said. “I happen to be talking about women in this Legislature, but that’s just one small group that continues to be represented in this building in a way that has not been seen historically.”

The Senate begins with eight women in leadership positions, alongside the Nevada Assembly, where she said six women are in leadership. “To be fair, I think we have stolen a few of our female colleagues from the Assembly side,” she said.

Across the hall not long after Cannizzaro spoke, Assemblywoman Angie Taylor, a Reno Democrat, became the first African American female from Northern Nevada to serve in the Assembly.

Senate Minority Leader Heidi Steevers Gansert, R-Reno, said she welcomes the opportunity to work with fellow senators face-to-face, rather than politicians talking “at” each other in social media.

“Partisan politics has its place, but the campaign season is over and now it’s time for us to govern together as Nevadans,” she said.

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, holding her son Case as she spoke in Carson City on Monday.

The first day of the Legislature is known as “family day,” when lawmakers bring guests and recognize their roles and contributions. For Cannizzaro, that meant her young son, Case, had to endure a day of politics. She was also joined by her husband Nathan Ring and her mother, Norma.

“My mom has taught me so much about being strong in the face of adversity. About keeping going and persevering, no matter what,” Cannizzaro said. Her mom raised her to be “the type of human that does the most good that you can, every single day.”

She talked about broad goals during the session as she closed her remarks.

“Nevada should be the kind of place where you can live, work and raise a family,” Cannizzaro said.

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