October 30, 2009
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate in recognition of the 145th anniversary of Nevada’s statehood. Below are Reid’s prepared remarks.
“The story of Nevada is the story of America. As America has grown – and grown up – so has my state. And as America has changed, Nevada has evolved just as dramatically.
“Lands that were once the frontier are now cities on the front lines of technology and industry. Where our land was once were dominated by homesteads, it is now dotted by energy-efficient homes. In 145 years – the birthday Nevada will celebrate this Saturday – we’ve come a long way.
“But one thing has not changed since 1864: forward-thinking Americans are still coming westward and calling Nevada home.
“The state of Nevada joined the Union at the height of the Civil War, just as Congress was voting on the 13th amendment that would abolish slavery. “Battle Born” Nevadans continue to fight for equality, freedom and progress, including the nearly 1,000 Nevadans who today serve bravely in our nation’s armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, around the globe and here at home.
“They follow in a long, strong tradition of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have defended America in both war and peace. Nevada is honored to be the home of some of our nation’s premier military bases, including Nellis Air Force Base; Creech Air Force Base; Naval Air Station Fallon, the home of Top Gun; and the Hawthorne Army Depot, as well as many National Guard Armories and Reserve Readiness Centers.
“Outside of Nevada, much attention is paid to Las Vegas. That attention is deserved, as Las Vegas has built itself from a desert outpost to the entertainment capital of the world, as well as a city on the vanguard of the clean energy revolution.
“But every corner of the state is playing a critical role in leading our nation toward energy independence. It is a revolution fueled by Nevadans’ boundless innovative spirit and Nevada’s unlimited natural resources.
“Indeed, Nevada is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. It boasts 26 state and national parks covering 3.2 million acres, 10 mountain ranges that host peaks as high as 13,000 feet – including 32 over 11,000 feet – two national forests, and one of the highest alpine lakes in the world, Lake Tahoe. Mark Twain described Lake Tahoe as “the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” He was right.
“From its snow-capped peaks to its searing desert, the Nevada landscape is as diverse as the backgrounds of those who helped settle it and those who live and work there today.
“It is also a wonderful place to raise a family. I know that firsthand because I was born and raised in Nevada, as have been my five children. My wife is like so many people, in fact the majority of people. She was born in California and worked her way into Nevada with her family.
“When we ensure that all Nevadans can afford quality health care and can count on a good-paying job, it will be even better. That’s why I come to work each day to make life easier for my neighbors back home. It’s why I’m working to help our economy prosper once again. It’s why I’m working to protect our state’s natural beauty. It’s why I fought to end the plan that would have made Nevada the nation’s nuclear dumping ground.
“I am immensely proud to be a Nevadan, humbled that the people of Nevada have asked me to represent them for nearly 30 years, and proud that the United States Senate has recognized the 145th anniversary of our state’s ratification of the Constitution.
“Nevada is going to recover. It remains open for business. And in the words of the state song, to me, it will always mean home.
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