U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto talks her re-election, abortion, unions, and inflation
The first ever Latina elected to the Senate spoke to AL DÍA about protecting abortion and alleviating prices back home.
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Current two-term serving U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto became the first ever Latina elected to the Senate when she first won back in 2016.
And with her recent victorious re-election campaign in the midterm elections, it gave Democrats an important advantage in the Senate.
The former Nevada Attorney General was voted back to Washington D.C. by her constituents as she defeated her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt. When she was first elected in 2016, replacing the outgoing Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, the longtime Senate Majority Leader, and a force in Nevada politics.
In the six years since, she has passed legislation to protect Nevadans’ abortion rights, and as the daughter of a teamster, she made organized labor a huge part of her campaign, and lowered gas prices back home. For a while, Nevada’s gas prices were some of the worst in the country.
Now newly re-elected, Sen. Cortez Masto, in a conversation with AL DÍA, discussed her recent campaign, abortion, unions, and inflation.
“Very honored to continue to represent the families that I grew up with,” the Senator said.
Inflation, rising gas prices were prime concerns for voters these past midterm elections and the Senator has long fought to lower costs for Nevadans and protect consumers.
She recently introduced a bill that will help further temper gas prices and bring increased scrutiny to the oil industry and hold them accountable.
The Fair and Transparent Gas Prices Act, would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) greater latitude to investigate unfair practices, give greater market transparency, and aim to prevent any further price gouging.
“That was my piece of legislation that I introduced, and it was the first one for me in Congress. That's how important it was. I was hearing from so many Nevadans about the high price of gas. Not only was I seeing it from hearing from that, I'm seeing it personally,” she said.
“Nevada constantly is above the national average,” Cortez Masto added.
The bill itself looks to curb the anti-competitive behavior and price gouging by oil and gas companies, and allowed the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
“Are they price gouging Nevadans?” was the question. “That's what I want to know, that's an essential piece of working to lower costs for families around these energy crises,” Cortez Masto added.
Protecting abortion back home and nationally
Nevada is a pro-choice state currently, over 70% vote in favor of protecting the right, including most Nevada Latinos. Cortez Masto has consistently fought for it to stay that way, especially after the overturn of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court.
She’s called to protect women’s reproductive rights and vowed to fight a federal abortion ban, which included passing the Women’s Health Protection Act in 2021, legislation she co-sponsored to guarantee equal access to the procedure.
“Because of the support that I've had from both Democrats, Republicans and independents, men and women in our state who care about this issue, who fought to not only codify Roe vs. Wade in the state of Nevada, but believe in a woman's right to choose, they sent me back to Washington,” she said.
Cortez Masto’s victorious reelection was also one very much needed for Democrats to take control of the Senate, and likely means a national abortion ban is off the table.
“By sending me back here to fight this fight, we essentially clinched the Senate control so that we can prevent my colleagues or my Republican colleagues from trying to pass a federal abortion ban, so that's step one,” she said. “Nevada had been in this fight from the very beginning. And they will continue to do so.”
The former Nevada Attorney General also brought up the recent movement in certain states to penalize and criminalize women and doctors from providing and receiving essential medical services. She’s also fought that legislatively in Congress.
“I have introduced legislation in the past that I'm going to reintroduce, and that allows for a woman to freely travel for her healthcare needs. They should not be criminalized,” said Cortez Masto.
Organized Labor and Unions
Las Vegas is also a service city. More than hundreds of thousands of residents work in one of the many casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.
Born in Las Vegas as a third generation Nevadan, Cortez Masto is also the daughter of a teamster and centered organized labor in her re-election campaign.
On one of her many stops that Election Day, Nov. 8, Cortez Masto and the Democratic incumbent Governor Steve Sisolak — who lost his re-election bid to Republican and longtime Sheriff of Clark County Joe Lombardo — stopped at the Culinary Union Local 226 hall in downtown Las Vegas, where they thanked hundreds of members for their work during the campaign.
“What I know about growing up in Nevada and I'm third generation, having not only a father but an uncle, proud members of various labor unions there, is that these are our working families,” she said. “These are the ones who I'm fighting for to make sure our working families have the good wages, good jobs, have the dignity of being able to retire, and making sure they can take care of their families.”
It’s also how she ended her chat with AL DÍA.
“We should all be working together to address the needs of our families, our working families and working people to make sure that they have the opportunity to succeed as well,” Cortez Masto said.