Governor Sandoval has issued the following statement on Senator Raggio's death:
"With the death of Senator Bill Raggio, one of the great lights in the world of Nevada politics has gone out. Senator Raggio's career exemplified the very best of public service. His dedication to law and order, higher education, and the fiscal health of this great state spanned literally decades of Nevada history and touched the lives of tens of thousands of Nevadans. Kathleen and I wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the Raggio family in their time of mourning. I have said before that if there was a Mount Rushmore of Nevada politics, Bill Raggio's image would forever be carved there. The Nevada family has lost a great patriarch; may God rest his soul as we remember all that he meant to our state."
Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki:
“I am greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Nevada’s longest serving state senator, Bill Raggio. He was a remarkable man, and I am honored to have been able to call him a mentor, a colleague and a friend.
“Bill was a true public servant and his sole agenda was simply to make Nevada a better place. He has left an unmatched political footprint upon our state, and the citizens will reap the rewards of this gifted and decent gentleman for many years to come.
“Kelly and I have the Raggio family in our prayers, and our hearts go out to Dale and his children. I hope they are comforted by the knowledge that all Nevadans are mourning his passing, and we are forever grateful to have been blessed by his devotion, leadership and friendship.”
Washoe County School Superintendent Heath Morrison:
"I am very saddened to hear of the death of Senator William Raggio. For decades, he was a staunch defender of education in the Legislature and his influence will be felt for many more decades to come. Senator Raggio was one of the first to greet me when I arrived in Northern Nevada two years ago and I will always value his friendship and support. We have lost a great champion and ally who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends."
Bob Larkin, Washoe County Commission Chair:
"We have lost a great leader and a great Nevadan. The history of Nevada cannot be told without recognizing Bill Raggio and his service to this State. On behalf of the Washoe County Commission, I offer deepest condolences to his wife Dale and to his family. He will be missed. He will never be replaced."
Washoe County Republican Party:
"Washoe County and Northern Nevada lost a great friend today in Bill Raggio. Senator Raggio will be remembered for his dedication to higher education in Nevada, his commitment to law and order and as the father of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. He was a great advocate for Washoe County in the legislature, mentor to many of our legislators and we owe him a great debt of gratitude. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Dale and his family."
Washoe County Democratic Party:
"Washoe County and the State of Nevada have lost a true statesman who served his constituents with passion and commitment. Senator Raggio left an indelible mark on Northern Nevada, particularly on our college and university campuses. The Democratic Party of Washoe County extends its deepest sympathy to Senator Raggio’s family.”
Secretary of the Senate David Byerman:
"Today, the Nevada Senate has lost a paragon of eloquence. On behalf of the staff of the Nevada Senate, I would like to pay tribute to a true gentleman who always treated Senate employees with respect and with the dignity and decorum befitting the institution. Senator Bill Raggio was a transformative figure in the history of Nevada politics. He served for 38 years in the Senate, and as Majority Leader for 10 regular sessions and 9 special sessions. These are all records that will likely never be surpassed. In all of that time, he was beloved by his Finance Committee staff and by his personal staff. Particularly, our condolences go out to Dale Raggio, who for many years served as his Executive Assistant and worked closely with staff of the Nevada Senate. We will miss Senator Raggio, but the Nevada Senate – an institution that Senator Raggio loved – has been molded by his wit and wisdom forevermore."
Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto:
“The passing of Bill Raggio is a tragic loss for Nevadans. Bill was a great statesman whose political career began when he was elected as the Washoe County district attorney. He was a stellar prosecutor who valiantly protected the citizens of Northern Nevada. For those of us in the law enforcement community, we fondly recall and continue to tell stories about Bill standing up to perpetrators to ensure a safe community. Bill will always be remembered for his impassioned service and dedication to the law enforcement community. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”
Reno Mayor Bob Cashell:
"I was saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, Senator Raggio. He was one of the greatest friends and a true mentor to me. Our great state is better because of his leadership and service. He will be sorely missed."
Reno City Manager Andrew Clinger:
"The thing that was great about Senator Raggio and the time that I spent with him in the Legislature was his ability to bring the two sides together and get things done. He was a master at doing that."
Senator Harry Reid:
“I am very saddened to hear my friend, Bill Raggio, has passed away. I have known Bill for decades, he has been a mentor to me. He always fought for Nevada and his invaluable contributions and service to our state will live on. I want to express my sympathies to his lovely wife, Dale, who has always stood by his side. His important voice will be missed.”
Senator Dean Heller:
"I am deeply saddened by the death of Bill Raggio. There are no words to describe his dedication to the state of Nevada and I wish to express my deepest condolences and prayers for his wife Dale, and his family. Bill was a true statesman who dedicated his life to making Nevada a better place to live. His legacy will be remembered for generations to come.”
Congressman Mark Amodei:
"This is the end of an era in Nevada. Bill was an icon of legislative public service and it was a privilege to serve with him in the state senate. My condolences go out to his wife Dale and his two daughters."
Congresswoman Shelly Berkley:
“I was deeply saddened to learn of Bill Raggio’s passing. He was nothing short of a giant in Nevada politics and a fierce advocate for the state he loved, especially the north. His dedicated public service has improved the lives of thousands of Nevada families and his tireless work on higher education has left a permanent mark on this state. My thoughts are with his wife, Dale, and the rest of his family during this difficult time. He will be sorely missed.”
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini:
"Senator Raggio was an exceptional human being who came from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected and influential leaders our state has ever seen. He was a native Nevadan, veteran, and a dedicated public servant who made a difference in the lives of all Nevadans. Senator Raggio brought civility to our political system. He was indeed a man of his word. Our state needs more leaders like Bill Raggio. On behalf of the entire Sparks City Council and the citizens of Sparks, our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Dale, his children, and the entire Raggio family."
Nevada Assembly Speaker John Oceguera:
"It was an honor and privilege to serve with Bill Raggio in the Nevada State Legislature. No one has ever loved this state more or had a more passionate desire to make things better for the people who live here. His ability to bring people together to get things done was legendary. Those of us fortunate enough to have served with him learned so much about putting aside our differences to accomplish real, tangible goals for our constituents and our state. At times, he may have been an adversary on a particular issue, but he was always a true leader, a teacher and a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Nevada Senate Republican Caucus:
Senator Raggio epitomized the term "public servant." As a district attorney and legislator, Senator Raggio was committed to doing the right thing for the people of Nevada. A dedicated friend, father and husband, Senator Raggio remained true to those he cared about most. He was a tireless advocate for higher education, believing that it was the gateway to a better life for any Nevadan. With so many accomplishments and such universal respect, it's impossible to do justice and honor to the life of such a man. He has been a friend and mentor to many of our caucus members for many years. He will be missed greatly.
Krys Bart, President/CEO of the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority:
“We join our entire community in mourning the loss of a true visionary
leader. Sen. Raggio was a champion for our Airport Authority and he had the vision to create a transportation entity that plays a vital role in the economy of our region. He was also a wonderful mentor to me and I will miss his sage advice and wise counsel. The legacy of his forward thinking will be felt in our community for years to come.
Sen. Raggio created the state legislation that helped make the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority the economic engine that it is today. By removing local politics from airport operations, he set the stage for Reno-Tahoe International to operate with a business approach to transportation. Today, the Airport Authority Sen. Raggio championed generates $2 billion for the local economy each year. Sen. Raggio’s bust holds a place of honor in the airport near the front entrance to the terminal. This location will be adorned with flowers and a condolence message in the days to come to honor the Senator’s impact on our airport and community."
Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Saitta:
"Sen. Raggio was always a friend to the Judiciary and often our champion. He clearly understood that a strong Nevada requires a strong and independent Judicial Branch of government. He was not shy about standing for his beliefs and ensuring that government in Nevada was as effective and efficient as it could be.
The Supreme Court could always call on Sen. Raggio to serve on one of our commissions or committees and provide a steady, knowledgeable, and powerful voice. Nevada has lost a great leader and a great Nevadan.
Sen. Raggio was an icon, a consummate statesman and one of the most knowledgeable and pragmatic legislators ever to serve the people of Nevada. His absence from the Legislature with his retirement was keenly felt. His passing on Thursday ends a chapter in Nevada history.
The Supreme Court is saddened by his passing and the justices send their heartfelt condolences to his family."
Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre:
“Bill Raggio was as smart, witty and charming as any person I have had the pleasure to know. My family and I will deeply miss a cherished relationship that spanned generations. Bill's passing marks the end of an era during which statesmanship and the ability to compromise were admired characteristics recognized as necessary to guide Nevada through unique and often harrowing challenges. My thoughts and prayers go out to Dale, Leslie and Tracie.”
Justice Mark Gibbons"
“As a member of the Legislature, Senator Raggio always listened to our members and prioritized issues pertaining to the Nevada Judiciary and the State Bar of Nevada.”
Justice Michael Douglas"
“Bill Raggio was a supporter of the judiciary, but more importantly, he supported fairness in Nevada.
The leadership he brought to bear because of his legal background and belief in ‘One Nevada’ leaves a hole I hope someone else steps up to fill. He did his best to see that Nevada works.”
Marc Johnson, University of Nevada, Reno president:
"Sen. William Raggio lived a life of strong ideas and even greater ideals, which are etched everywhere on the state's landscape, most notably in higher education. He championed this University and all of higher education in the state of Nevada with a seriousness of purpose and sense of great passion that marked so much of his extraordinary life. He leaves behind the richest of all legacies: At every turn, his life's work improved the lives of all Nevadans. Our University will dearly miss Sen. Bill Raggio, who was a distinguished graduate of our institution, and a valued and trusted friend. On behalf of the entire University, Karen and I would like to express our deepest sympathies to Sen. Raggio's loving wife, Dale, his daughters Leslie and Tracy, and all of the Raggio family."
Joe Crowley, University of Nevada, Reno president emeritus:
"Bill Raggio's contributions to Nevada made the state a better place in so many ways. He was a master of the legislative process whose commitment to building consensus, to finding solutions, to working across the aisle, to managing the end game in Carson City made him a legendary figure. Higher education was a major priority for Bill, statewide. His name is on a building on campus as a way of saying thanks, but that does not begin to tell the story of how much he meant to his alma mater and to all the campuses that make up the Nevada System of Higher Education."
Chris Cheney, Dean, University of Nevada, Reno College of Education:
"Bill Raggio has long been a champion for education. In the College of Education, we're very grateful for his leadership and generosity. As a senator and true statesman, he was willing to work for the common good in order to move education forward and increase the quality and rigor of education for all Nevada students. He will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on throughout the state, and certainly here in our College's William J. Raggio Building, named in his honor."
McDonald Carano Wilson LLP:
“It’s with great sadness that we learned today of Senator Raggio’s passing. He was a friend, mentor and colleague to many of our lawyers and always had a positive impact on their lives and careers. For that, our firm will always be grateful. Senator Raggio’s reputation as a lawyer was impeccable and was only overshadowed by his status as Nevada’s greatest statesman. His legislative career was full of accomplishments that benefitted the people of Nevada, and he always elevated the citizens above politics. He was a tremendous asset to the people of Nevada, and we will never see another like him.”
Jan Gilbert, Northern Nevada Director, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada:
"Last night Nevada lost one of its true statesmen, Senator William Raggio. Many knew him as a champion for higher education and a “tough on crime” advocate. But PLAN worked with Senator Raggio on many other issues. He championed the rights of disadvantaged people. He knew that Nevada needed to provide essential services, particularly for Disabled individuals. He often voted against many in his party to increase funding for Human Services including raising the grant for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. And he stood up for increasing revenues at a time when his party was fractured on the issue.
Senator Raggio will be remembered by PLAN as someone who spoke out for increased revenues at one of the largest Human Services rallies ever held at the Nevada legislature in 2003. He spoke against those in his party that represented the John Birch Society. He felt that they were destroying the integrity of his party. He was someone who knew the power of compromise and diplomacy.
PLAN and Senator Raggio weren’t always on the same page but in 1987, he voted with the Anti-Nuclear Waste advocates to prevent the creation of the nuke dump in Southern Nevada. Senator Raggio was one of the first people who pointed out to us that we needed to look at the revenue side of the equation rather than just the expenditures.
Advocates for PLAN were always allowed in his office to voice our issues even though we didn’t always agree. Many knew when I was going to a meeting with Senator Raggio because I got more dressed up that day. He was “old school” and I respected that. When he lost his right hand Senator, Ray Rawson, who was the expert on the Human Services budgets, he jumped in and had a steep learning curve on the intricacies of those issues. PLAN’s Economic Justice Committee along with the Human Services Network had a lengthy meeting with him prior to that session to share our opinions. And he always listened intently.
Senator Raggio was often seen at events around town. Just recently he and his wife Dale attended the Martin Luther King Celebration put on by the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society. He seldom missed one of these events. One year I saw him in Elko at a Cowboy Poetry annual event with his wife and daughter. He even got out on the dance floor to two-step with his daughter. True Nevada style.
We applaud him in a life given to public service. We send condolences to his wife, Dale, and his two daughters."