A picture of Senator Harry Reid
Harry R.
Democrat NV

About Sen. Harry
  • Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continued

    by Senator Harry Reid

    Posted on 2015-09-22

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    Read More about Hire More Heroes Act of 2015--Continued

    REID. Mr. President, I know my friend, the distinguished Senator from Vermont, has been waiting, and so I will be very quick with the statement that I am going to give.

    Remembering Jim Santini Mr. President, today Nevada lost a historic figure. This morning former U.S. Congressman Jim Santini of Nevada passed away. He was a remarkably good person--a tremendous person who understood Nevada so well.

    He was a native Nevadan, born in Reno. He came from a real heritage that caused him to love his State of Nevada. His grandfather, Walter E. Clark, was the longest serving president at the University of Nevada. His uncle is a famous writer--a really celebrated author--Walter Van Tillburg Clark. It has been a long time, but what a great writer. His most famous work was ``The Ox-Bow Incident.'' I read it again a few years ago. It was made into a movie, which I watched again. It was considered by most to be the most--actually, the first modern Western novel.

    So Jim Santini breathed what Nevada was all about. He knew the State extremely well. He graduated from the University of Nevada--the same school where his grandfather was the president. He became close friends with former Senator Richard Bryan of Nevada, a two-term Governor and a striking figure in his own right. They were inseparable friends. They were in college together. They went to the same law school--Hastings Law School in San Francisco.

    Jim graduated from law school in 1962. He immediately decided he would serve his country, and for 3 years he served in the U.S. Army. His service to his State and country spans many decades.

    His good friend Richard Bryan convinced him that he should move from Reno. The growth in the State was in the southern part of the State, the Las Vegas area. Jim--in some respects reluctantly--moved from his roots to southern Nevada, where he excelled. He worked as a deputy district attorney. After the first public defender in the State of Nevada decided to run for public office, he was replaced--that is Richard Bryan, the first public defender in Clark County--he was replaced with his good friend Jim Santini, who became a public defender.

    It was a short time thereafter that he was elected justice of the peace of Las Vegas. During this period of time, the role of the justice of the peace changed. It became more of a judicial officer rather than someone who became fabulously wealthy by marrying hundreds and hundreds of people. That is the way it used to be. He did a very good job as justice of the peace. He was so impressive that the Governor of the State of Nevada, Mike O'Callaghan, appointed him to serve as a Nevada district court judge representing Clark County.

    In 1972 Jim ran for Nevada's at-large congressional seat. From 1864, when Nevada became a State, until 1982, Nevada only had one Congressman, one Member of Congress, and it was an at-large seat. And when Jim ran for that in 1972, he ran against Republican incumbent David Towell, who just 2 years before was in a race with Congressman Walter S. Baring, who served in Congress for some 22 years representing Nevada's at-large congressional seat and who was defeated in the primary. But David Towell came from nowhere and beat the Democrat in that case. Santini came right back, and David Towell was a one-term Congressman.

    Jim represented the State of Nevada in Congress very honorably for four terms. He was well respected, well regarded, and very popular in the State of Nevada. However, in 1982 Jim decided to run for the Senate, and he was not successful. In 1986 he ran for the Senate again. I was his opponent. It was a relatively close race, but when that race was over, it was over. I knew Jim before he and I became opponents. We worked together on many different projects. We never had a cross word. To this day we never had a cross word.

    Jim became a counsel--a lawyer--and a lobbyist for America's tourism and travel industry. He worked to bring tourists to the United States and to the State of Nevada, and he did it very admirably and very well.

    Jim Santini had a wonderful wife, Ann Santini. She has quite a career in her own right. She is the director of international affairs for the LDS Church here in Washington, DC. They have four children: Lisa, Lori, Mark, and J.D. They have 11 grandchildren.

    Before leaving Jim Santini, we have to speak about his uniqueness. Here is a man who had--there may be someone who has a better arrowhead collection than Jim Santini; I just don't know who it would be. He spent many decades--a lot of the time in Nevada but around the country--collecting arrowheads. He had a great collection of arrowheads. He also collected Indian baskets, and in Nevada we had probably the most famous basket weaver in the history of the country, a woman by the name of Dat So La Lee. She is really a very famous woman. Many of her baskets are worth over $1 million. She made baskets this big--woven, of course, by hand--and baskets this large. Jim collected baskets. I don't know how many he wound up having of Dat So La Lee's, but I am sure he had some.

    It is with a great deal of sadness that I report to my friends in Nevada and the friends Jim had here in Washington that Jim passed away this morning. I said that earlier. I will miss him. He and I exchanged letters right after the first of the year, right after I got hurt, injured my eye. He always was a kind, gracious man, and I will miss him very much, as will everyone in Nevada and his friends here in Washington.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.

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