Politicians pay tribute to former Senate chief Harry Reid

Messages of remembrance poured in on Tuesday after former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid died at 82 after a long battle with cancer.

Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, entered politics as an outsider who grew up in extreme poverty and became one of the party’s most powerful figures. He was the United States Senator from Nevada from 1987 to 2017, leading the National Democratic Caucus from 2005 until his retirement.

“Senator Harry Reid was a true lion of the Senate. It was as hard as they come. A great man and a great leader, ”DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison (DS.C.) said in a statement. “Although we have lost an American icon, his memory will not be forgotten and I hope we can strive to emulate his leadership and follow in his footsteps to create a better country for all.”

Reid also served as Senate Majority Leader from 2007 to 2015 before becoming Minority Leader when Republicans took control of the chamber. As a leader, he helped usher in major legislation, including the Affordable Care Act, something for which it seemed impossible to garner enough votes without Reid.

“The nature of Harry and my jobs has led us to frequent and sometimes intense conflicts over politics and politics. But I never doubted that Harry was always doing what he sincerely and deeply believed was right for Nevada and our country, ”said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

“When Harry retired from the Senate, we both celebrated that our many differences had never really become personal. Harry and my paths in the Senate were roughly parallel, ”McConnell added. “We seemed to reach each institutional milestone just a few years apart. I really enjoyed the sincere and cordial relationship we shared behind the scenes when the passions cooled.

Barack Obama, who was president while Reid was Senate Majority Leader, said Tuesday that Landra Reid had asked relatives of her husband to share letters she could read him in his dying days. Obama issued his letter in lieu of a statement:

“I learned that the health situation had taken a difficult turn and that it was difficult to speak on the phone. Which, let’s face it, isn’t that big of a change because you never liked talking on the phone anyway! Obama wrote.

“Here’s what I want you to know. You were a great leader in the Senate, and at first you were more generous to me than I was entitled to expect. I would not have been President without your encouragement and support, and I would not have achieved most of what I have done without your skills and determination, ”he continued. “Most of all, you’ve been a good friend. As different as we are, I think we both saw something of ourselves in each other – a couple of strangers who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared. of the little guy. And you know what, we were a pretty good team.

“Enjoy your family and know that you are loved by a lot of people, including me. The world is a better place for what you have done. Not bad for a poor skinny boy from Searchlight.

President Joe Biden pointed to the start of Reid’s boxing career and the harshness he lent to his politics:

Tributes have come from both sides of the aisle and have spanned the generations he served with and later mentored.

This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.

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