Nevada's First Congresswoman Passes Away; Read Comments

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Governor Brian Sandoval: “With the recent passing of Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain lost its Iron Lady and today the Silver State has lost its Silver Lady.

“Barbara Vucanovich was the matriarch of her political generation – the first woman elected to Congress from Nevada, and the first Nevadan to rise to a position of leadership within the U.S. House of Representatives.  First and foremost, however, Barbara was a wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  Her family was always her priority, even as she served the entire Nevada family in the United States Congress.

“Barbara was known for protecting rural interests like mining and water, but she fought equally hard to protect gaming and to shield casino workers and retirees from unfair taxation. A breast cancer survivor herself, she worked for funding for early screening, detection and treatment of breast cancer.

“Barbara will perhaps forever be remembered as a gracious, personable leader with her feet on the ground and her priorities where they belonged, right here in Nevada. Kathleen and I extend our deepest sympathies to Barbara’s brother, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”


Washoe County Republican Party: "We are deeply saddened at the loss of Barbara Vucanovich.  Congresswoman Vucanovich was an inspiration to so many people throughout the years. She was also a model statesman and great example for all politicians who followed her.

Establishing herself as a leader in Congress, she was instrumental in repealing the 55 mph speed limit, a major force in forming the Contract With America with Newt Gingrich and a member of the Appropriations Committee chairing its subcommittee on Military Construction.

This past summer the Washoe County Republican Party was honored to have hosted a tribute to Barbara’s career and to thank her for her contributions to Nevada and our county.  The event included messages from Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Brian Sandoval, Senator Richard Bryan and many others.

Barbara remained very active in the Republican Party and was one of the first people candidates talked to before deciding to run for office.  She was present at party functions and was a featured guest at many of the Romney events in Washoe County this past election cycle.

Nevada has lost a remarkable person and we offer our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to her family."


Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV2): “As the first person to hold Nevada's Second Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara set the standard for effective public service with humility. Nevadans have never been better represented than when Barbara Vucanovich was their Congresswoman. She was a true Nevadan and public servant. Her contributions to the Silver State are a lasting legacy. My sincere condolences to her family.”


US Senator Dean Heller (R-NV): “With the passing of Barbara Vucanovich, the Silver State has lost one of its finest and most well-respected Nevadans. During one of my first trips to Washington, Barbara took me, a complete stranger, to lunch in the Congressional dining hall. Ever since that day, I have admired her and valued her wisdom, experience and friendship. Barbara always stressed that constituent services and responding directly to Nevadans’ needs are the most important responsibilities of public service. Grateful for that advice, I took it to heart and have always tried to follow the high standard she set. Lynne’s and my thoughts and prayers are with Barbara’s family and friends as we join them to mourn the loss of this great Nevadan.”


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “Barbara and I came to Congress together in 1983. She was such a pleasure to work with. She and her late husband George were inseparable whether they were together in DC or in Nevada. I will miss them both very much and my thoughts are with the family during this difficult time.”


Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV): “As the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress, Barbara helped to break the glass ceiling for Nevada women in the political world. She was a true public servant and a devoted wife and mother. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”


NV Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange: “As Nevada’s first female Congresswoman, Barbara Vucanovich served as an inspiration to millions of Nevadans.  Congresswoman Vucanovich was a fine public servant and a role model to countless Nevada women who went on to run for office themselves.  My thoughts and prayers are with Barbara’s family in this difficult time.”


Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV): I am incredibly saddened by the news of Barbara Vucanovich's passing today. She was a trailblazer who broke the congressional glass ceiling in Nevada. As the first woman in Congress from Nevada, and the first Nevadan in House leadership, she set an example for every public servant from Nevada following in her footsteps.

"She was tough: a breast cancer survivor who lived nearly 30 years after her diagnosis who also never missed a vote during her recovery from surgery.  She was fair-minded, conservative and consistent, and she will be missed.

"My thoughts and prayers are with Barbara's family and friends."

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Family members say Barbara Vucanovich, who was the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress, has died. She was 91.

The former congresswoman's daughter, Patty Cafferata, says Vucanovich died Monday in Reno after a short illness. She had broken her pelvis in February and never fully recovered.

Vucanovich, a Republican, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. She served as a representative from 1983 to 1997.

Vucanovich had five children and was married to George Vucanovich, who died in 1998.

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