By Sean Whaley | Nevada News Bureau
RENO – Friends, family and political colleagues gathered today to honor and pay tribute to the first woman to serve in Congress from Nevada, the now 91-year-old Barbara Vucanovich.
About 250 guests gathered at Rancharrah for the celebratory dinner, which not coincidentally raised a healthy sum for Republican candidates in the November general election.
Two successors in the 2nd Congressional District, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller and current U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, joined in honoring Vucanovich, who was working for then-U.S. Sen. Paul Laxalt in 1982 when he urged her to run for the newly created seat.
Vucanovich, 61 at the time, rose to the challenge and won the seat, serving for seven terms. She became good friends with President Ronald Reagan and other influential political leaders during her 14 years in office.
Heller, wearing one of Vucanovich’s old campaign buttons, said he first met her when he was visiting Washington, D.C., more than 20 years ago. Heller called her office on the spur of the moment and Vucanovich offered to take him to lunch at the Congressional dining hall even though she did not know him.