Catherine Marie Cortez Masto, born 29 March 1964 and raised in Las Vegas. She has spent her career fighting for Nevada’s working families. She served two terms as Attorney General of Nevada and in November 2016, she made history by becoming the first woman from Nevada and the first Latina ever elected to the United States Senate.
During her time as Nevada’s top prosecutor, Cortez Masto became well known as an advocate for seniors, women, and children. She worked closely with local law enforcement to keep Nevada’s communities safe.
As Attorney General, Cortez Masto led the push to break up sex trafficking rings throughout the state. She partnered with community advocates to give first responders the tools they need to identify and intervene in trafficking incidents. She also helped pass a law to make sex trafficking a crime at the state level, an achievement that allowed state and local officials to share resources and information with federal prosecutors.
Cortez Masto sought to protect Nevada’s seniors and implement guardianship reform in the state. She created a senior protection unit to safeguard older Nevadans from identity theft, exploitation, and abuse.
To help middle-class families recover from the housing crisis, Cortez Masto created the Mortgage Fraud Strike Force to investigate and prosecute lending scams. She led the fight to hold the Big Banks accountable for their role in the housing collapse and secured a $1.9 billion settlement for Nevada homeowners.
As a member of the United States Senate, Cortez Masto has taken her fight for working Nevadans to Washington, D.C.
Her position on five Senate Committees allows her to continue to advocate for the issues that matter most to Nevadans. She sits on the Committee on Finance; the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources; the Committee on Rules and Administration; and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Cortez Masto currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Economic Policy Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; and the Ranking Member of the Water and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
In Congress, Senator Cortez Masto remains a strong advocate for women and children and is working to pass legislation to strengthen women’s healthcare. She is a cosponsor of the Save Women’s Preventive Care Act, which would guarantee coverage for preventive healthcare services, like breast cancer screenings, birth control, and domestic violence intervention support. Additionally, the Senator continues to create more opportunities for young women in technology and science fields. To ensure that they have the support they need to compete in a 21st century workforce, she has introduced the Code Like a Girl Act, which would create two National Science Foundation (NSF) grant programs to encourage young girls to pursue computer science.
Senator Cortez Masto is working to repair our broken immigration system and protect hardworking families. She is a cosponsor of the DREAM Act and a fervent supporter of comprehensive immigration reform.
The Senator has also seized on Nevada’s innovation economy and leadership in renewable energy production. Cortez Masto has unveiled a key legislative initiative to strengthen America’s 21stcentury economy, called the “Innovation State Initiative.” Her legislative package is aimed at cementing Nevada’s place as a leader in innovation and strengthening America’s economic competitiveness in the fields of science, technology, and renewable energy. It consists of several pieces of legislation designed to promote technology jobs and innovation in the state, as well as nationally. This legislation also ensures there are guardrails in place for the responsible use of technology and the appropriate workforce training. Additionally, the bills prioritize investment in access to broadband internet in rural communities and disadvantaged urban areas, as well as enhanced drone safety and testing, and encourages investment in research and infrastructure that creates the smart communities of the future, improves infrastructure, and strengthens Nevadans’ quality of life and America’s economy.
Cortez Masto believes that all Americans have the right to affordable, quality health care. She has been a strong advocate in the Senate for strengthening our healthcare system and for protecting Medicare and Medicaid. In response to provider shortages in rural communities that could affect the healthcare coverage of nearly 8,000 Nevadans, Cortez Masto cosponsored the Marketplace Certainty Act to stabilize the healthcare markets, lower premiums for consumers and prevent insurers from leaving rural counties. Senator Cortez Masto is also a proud cosponsor of the following legislation to improve healthcare for Nevadans: Medicare-X Choice Act, a bill to create a Medicare-based public option; Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices, a bill to authorize HHS to negotiate drug prices to protect seniors from exploitation; Rural Hospital Access Act, a bill to support and protect rural hospitals by extending a key Medicare program for low-volume hospitals; and the Resident Physician Shortage Act, a bill to address the medical provider shortage in rural areas and communities throughout Nevada.
Protecting survivors and combating human trafficking continues to be one of Cortez Masto’s top priorities. Cortez Masto introduced a bipartisan bill entitled, the End Trafficking of Native Americans Act of 2018, which would help bridge the gaps between tribal communities and the federal government in combatting human trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. She is also a cosponsor of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) and the Abolish Human Trafficking Act.
An avid hiker and nature lover, Cortez Masto is committed to protecting our environment and public lands for future generations to enjoy. She is the cosponsor of the Clean Energy for America Act, a bill that would measurably reduce carbon pollution over the next decade through a series of incentives for clean energy and the promotion of new technologies in the private sector. Cortez Masto has defended the Antiquities Act to protect Nevada’s national monuments and worked alongside the Nevada congressional delegation to stop the administration’s repeated attempts to revive Yucca Mountain. In an effort to spur Nevada’s renewable energy development and production, Cortez Masto cosponsored legislation called the Electric CARS Act to encourage the use and development of electric vehicles, and the Advancing Grid Storage Act to increase America’s energy storage capabilities, while helping expand the role that renewable energy resources like wind and solar play in the nation’s energy portfolio.
Prior to her service as Attorney General, Cortez Masto served as Chief of Staff to Nevada Governor Bob Miller. She also worked as an Assistant County Manager in Clark County and as a federal criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington D.C.
Cortez Masto earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Nevada, Reno in 1986, and a J.D. from Gonzaga University School of Law in 1990. She resides in Las Vegas with her husband Paul, a retired Secret Service agent.
- Catherine Marie Cortez Masto Biography and Profile (Catherine Marie Cortez Masto)