Catherine Cortez Masto
|Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Chris Van Hollen|
United States Senator|
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2017
Serving with Jacky Rosen
|Preceded by||Harry Reid|
|32nd Attorney General of Nevada|
January 1, 2007 – January 5, 2015
|Preceded by||George Chanos|
|Succeeded by||Adam Laxalt|
Catherine Marie Cortez
March 29, 1964
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
University of Nevada, Reno (
Gonzaga University ( JD)
Catherine Marie Cortez Masto (born March 29, 1964) is an American attorney and politician serving as the senior United States Senator from Nevada, in office since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 32nd Attorney General of Nevada (2007–2015).
Cortez Masto graduated from University of Nevada, Reno and Gonzaga University School of Law. She worked four years as a civil attorney in Las Vegas and two years as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. before being elected Nevada Attorney General in 2006 to replace George Chanos. Reelected in 2010, she was not eligible to run for a third term in 2014 because of lifetime term limits established by the Constitution of Nevada.
Cortez Masto defeated Joe Heck in the U.S. Senate election in Nevada to replace outgoing Democratic Senator Harry Reid, becoming the first woman elected to represent Nevada in the Senate and the first Latina elected to serve in the Senate.  She took office on January 3, 2017, and became Nevada's senior senator when Dean Heller left office in January 2019.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education and law career
- 3 Nevada Attorney General
- 4 U.S. Senate
- 5 Political positions
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Cortez Masto was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, the daughter of Joanna (née Musso) and Manny Cortez.  Her father was the longtime head of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and served as a Clark County Commissioner and as an attorney for the County.  Manny Cortez, now deceased, and Harry Reid had a longstanding friendship.  Her father is of Mexican descent and her mother is of Italian descent.   Her paternal grandfather, Edward Cortez, immigrated to Nevada from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.   
She was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1990, the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada in 1991 and the U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Ninth Circuit in 1994. She is married to Paul Masto, a former Special Agent in the United States Secret Service. 
Her career includes four years as a civil attorney in Las Vegas and two years as a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. She also served as former Nevada Democratic Governor Bob Miller's chief of staff. 
In November 2003, Cortez Masto was named executive vice chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education. There was initial controversy because she was hired directly by the chancellor, and not the university system's board of regents; the chancellor indicated that the regents had previously recommended that he hire an assistant, and in December the board voted unanimously to approve her annual salary of $215,000.  
In 2009, Cortez Masto's office launched an investigation against Brian Krolicki, the Republican Lieutenant Governor of Nevada. Krolicki faced felony charges related to allegations that he mishandled the Nevada College Savings Trust Fund when he was state treasurer. During the investigation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal discovered that Cortez Masto's husband, Paul, planned to host a fundraising party for Robert S. Randazzo, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, four days before the attorney general's office was scheduled to prosecute Krolicki. Cortez Masto said she was unaware of the fundraising party.  The charges against Krolicki were ultimately dismissed in Clark County District Court.  The dismissal of charges against Krolicki was regarded as a political setback for Cortez Masto, who, according to the Las Vegas Sun, "opened herself to charges of politicizing her office and prosecutorial misconduct." 
In 2010, Cortez Masto's office began investigating Bank of America, accusing the company of raising interest rates on troubled borrowers. Her office sought to end Nevada's participation in a loan modification settlement in order to sue the bank over alleged deceptive marketing and lending practices. Bank of America denied any wrongdoing.  The lawsuit was settled in 2012 for $750 million for lien reductions and short sales. 
Cortez Masto defended the state of Nevada's position in the lawsuit Sevcik v. Sandoval. The lawsuit challenged Nevada's denial of same-sex marriage as prohibited by the state's constitution and statutory law. After initially defending the state's same-sex marriage ban,  Cortez Masto and the state abandoned their defense of the ban in light of a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 
Cortez Masto declined to run for Governor of Nevada in the 2014 election.  When U.S. Senator Harry Reid decided not to run for re-election in the 2016 election, he endorsed Cortez Masto as his successor.  Cortez Masto's campaign relied heavily on the political infrastructure Reid had assembled.  Her opponent was United States Representative Joe Heck.
Cortez Masto, who supports increased investments in renewable energy technology, was supported by the League of Conservation Voters.  Cortez Masto was also financially supported by End Citizens United, a political action committee seeking to overturn Citizens United v. FEC, and pro choice groups such as EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood. 
Cortez Masto won 47% of the vote (520,658 votes), with Joe Heck behind at 45% (494,427 votes). While Heck carried 16 of Nevada's counties and county equivalents, Cortez Masto won Clark County, home to over 70 percent of the state's population, by over 82,000 votes, almost three times her statewide margin of 27,000 votes. 
She filled the seat of former Senator Harry Reid on January 3, 2017, becoming the first Latina in the United States Senate. 
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Committee on Rules and Administration
- Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
- Committee on Indian Affairs
- Special Committee on Aging
Cortez believes in human caused climate change and that the federal government should limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  She supports the growth of green jobs and increasing Nevada's reliance on solar power and other forms of clean energy. She opposes the use of Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository. 
Cortez Masto is a gun owner. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has given Cortez Masto a "F" rating due to her support for gun control. During the 2016 election cycle, the NRA spent $1 million on an attack ad against her. She opposes allowing individuals on the terrorist watch list to buy guns, stating that allowing them to do so "makes no sense." 
In response to the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Cortez Masto co-sponsored a bill with Dianne Feinstein to ban bump stocks. She stated that, although the bill cannot bring back the lives of those lost, it can be a start towards decreasing gun violence and mass shootings. 
Cortez Masto does not support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).  However, she does support improving upon the act, which she has called "imperfect." She has co-sponsored the Marketplace Certainty Act to bring more stability to the healthcare marketplace in lieu of insurance providers leaving the program. 
In December 2018, Cortez Masto was one of forty-two senators to sign a letter to Trump administration officials Alex Azar, Seema Verma, and Steve Mnuchin arguing that the administration was improperly using Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to authorize states to "increase health care costs for millions of consumers while weakening protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions." The senators requested the administration withdraw the policy and "re-engage with stakeholders, states, and Congress." 
In April 2018, Cortez Masto was one of five senators to send a letter to acting director of ICE Thomas Homan on standards used by the agency when determining how to detain a pregnant woman, requesting that pregnant women not be held in custody unless under extraordinary standards after reports "that ICE has failed to provide critical medical care to pregnant women in immigration detention — resulting in miscarriages and other negative health outcomes". 
Cortez Masto has cosponsored the bipartisan STATES Act proposed in the 115th U.S. Congress by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner that would exempt individuals or corporations in compliance with state cannabis laws from federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act. 
- List of female state attorneys-general in the United States
- List of Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States Congress
- Women in the United States Senate
- "2016 Nevada Senate Election Results". Politico. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
- Las Vegas High School Alumni Association: "MANUEL J. CORTEZ (Class of 1956)" retrieved February 15, 2016
- "Former Las Vegas convention chief Cortez dies at 67". Las Vegas Sun. June 19, 2006. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- Drusch, Andrea (March 27, 2015). "Meet the Woman Harry Reid Wants to Replace Him in the Senate". National Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- "Catherine Cortez Masto for Senate — Catherine Cortez Masto Launches Spanish-Language". Catherinecortezmasto.com. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
- Trout, keith (August 14, 2015).
"Senate candidate attends Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner".
Reno Gazette Journal.
A Las Vegas native and University of Nevada, Reno graduate, Cortez Masto said she is half-Mexican and half-Sicilian and represents the American dream, noting she was the first in her family to attend college
- "Catherine Cortez Masto Seizes on Hispandering Attack". Politico. September 23, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- "Nevada Republican Senate hopeful Joe Heck launches first TV ad of general election campaign". KTNV. September 23, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- "Manuel Cortez-Obituary". Review Journal Obituaries. September 23, 2016. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
- "Alumni Profile: Catherine Cortez Masto". Gonzaga School of Law. March 19, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Vogel, Ed (November 24, 2009). "Krolicki case might take twist". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
- McCabe, Francis (November 25, 2014). "Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto named to higher ed post". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Barnes, Bethany (December 16, 2014). "Regents approve Masto's $215,000 salary as executive vice chancellor". Las vegas Review-Journal. Las Vegas, NV.
- Vogel, Ed (November 24, 2009). "Krolicki case might take twist". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- McCoy, Cara (December 7, 2009). "Charges dismissed against Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- Coolican, J. Patrick (December 8, 2009). "Cortez Masto's shining star dims after Krolicki decision". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- Morgenson, Gretchen (August 30, 2011). "Nevada Says Bank Broke Mortgage Settlement". The New York Times. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
- Rosenblatt, Joel (February 9, 2012). "Bank of America Settles With Nevada Attorney General Masto". Bloomberg Business. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Whaley, Sean (January 22, 2014). "Nevada legal brief defends state's same-sex marriage ban". Las Vegas Review Journal. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Ford, Zack (February 11, 2014). "Nevada Abandons Its Defense Of Same-Sex Marriage Ban". ThinkProgress. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Doughman, Andrew (September 19, 2013). "Cortez Masto: I'm not running for governor". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
- Kane, Paul (November 17, 2015). "Harry Reid, retiring but betting big on Nevada for Democratic Senate majority". Washington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- Botkin, Ben (September 25, 2016). "Climate change becoming increasingly visible campaign issue in Nevada". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Botkin, Ben (October 2, 2016). "Outside spending groups pump millions into political races in Nevada". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Philipps, Dave (November 9, 2016). "Catherine Cortez Masto Wins Nevada to Become First Latina Senator". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
- "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
- "Joe Heck vs. Catherine Cortez Masto: Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For 2016 Nevada Senate Race". Huffington Post. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Akers, Mick (24 February 2017). "Cortez Masto, clean energy advocates cite concerns about EPA under Pruitt". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Smith, Anthony. "After massacre, Nevada's members of Congress are sending "thoughts and prayers."". Mic. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Senator Catherine Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill On Gun Control and Releases Statement on Las Vegas Shooting". 2 News. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- Gonzalez, Yvonne (7 July 2017). "Cortez Masto highlights dangers of Obamacare repeal". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on Trump Administration to Stop Pushing Health Insurance Plans that Weaken Pre-Existing Condition Protections". urbanmilwaukee.com. December 20, 2018.
- "Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto On How She Would Improve The Immigration System". NPR.org. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
- "Democrats question ICE standards for detaining pregnant women". The Hill. April 5, 2018.
- Messerly, Megan (10 August 2016). "Cortez Masto ad goes after Heck on abortion stance". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
- "Cosponsors - S.3032 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): STATES Act". www.congress.gov. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Senator Catherine Cortez Masto official U.S. Senate website
- Catherine Cortez Masto campaign website
- Catherine Cortez Masto at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
Attorney General of Nevada
|Party political offices|
Democratic nominee for
U.S. Senator from
( Class 3)
Chris Van Hollen
| Chair of the
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
United States Senator (Class 3) from Nevada
Served alongside: Dean Heller, Jacky Rosen
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
John N. Kennedy
United States Senators by seniority
|115th||Senate: D. Heller | C. C. Masto||House: M. Amodei | D. Titus | J. Rosen | R. Kihuen|
|116th||Senate: C. C. Masto | J. Rosen||House: M. Amodei | D. Titus | S. Horsford | S. Lee|