Born and raised in Las Vegas, Catherine Cortez Masto 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 health care. She is a cosponsor of the Healthy Maternal and Obstetric Medicine (Healthy MOM) Act, which would ensure that mothers and their babies have access to the care they need, both before and after birth. Senator Cortez Masto continues to support our servicewomen by addressing the unique challenges they face as they transition from active duty. To ensure that they are empowered to access the full range of services they need to thrive, she has introduced the Servicewomen’s Health Transition Training Act of 2019, which would increase the knowledge of available VA health care resources like mental health assistance, maternity care, cancer screenings and casework management.
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 21st (space needed) century 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.
Senator Cortez Masto is committed to finding solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Nevada, and across the country so that every hardworking family is able to pursue the American dream. Cortez Masto introduced the Home Loan Quality Transparency Act to reinstate key Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act reporting requirements, which were repealed last year, that help regulators and advocates hold banks accountable for discriminatory or unfair lending practices.
Cortez Masto also believes that all Americans have the right to affordable, quality health care. She has been a strong advocate in the Senate for strengthening our health care system and for protecting Medicare and Medicaid. In response to provider shortages in rural communities that could affect the health care coverage of nearly 8,000 Nevadans, Cortez Masto cosponsored the Marketplace Certainty Act to stabilize the health care markets, lower premiums for consumers and prevent insurers from leaving rural counties. She also introduced bipartisan drug pricing transparency legislation to allow the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Medicaid and CHIP Payment Advisory Commission (MACPAC) to access critical information on pricing and contracts under Medicaid and Medicare to reduce costs for those on the program and protect these vital programs. Senator Cortez Masto is also a proud cosponsor of the following legislation to improve health care for Nevadans: the Family Coverage Act, legislation that would fix a glitch in the health care system and ensure all spouses and children are able to get covered; Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices, a bill to authorize HHS to negotiate drug prices to protect seniors from exploitation; and the Stopping the Pharmaceutical Industry from Keeping Drugs Expensive (SPIKE) Act, a bill that would require drug manufacturers to publicly justify large price increases in prescription drugs.
Protecting survivors and combating human and child trafficking continues to be one of Cortez Masto’s top priorities. Cortez Masto introduced two bipartisan bills, titled the Not Invisible Act of 2019 and Savanna’s Act, which aim to address the crisis of missing, murdered, and trafficked Native Americans and Alaska Natives by increasing coordination among all levels of law enforcement, improving data collection and information sharing, and empowering tribal governments with the resources they need and bridging the gaps between tribal communities, law enforcement and the federal government. Cortez Masto has also introduced the Interdiction for the Protection of Child Victims of Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act to ensure law enforcement officers have the necessary tools and training to recognize and rescue at-risk and exploited children.
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. 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, the GEO Act to promote the growth of geothermal energy, especially in the State of Nevada, and the Renewable Energy Extension Act to extend clean energy tax incentives and ensure continued deployment, growth, and innovation of green technologies. Cortez Masto has also defended the Antiquities Act to protect Nevada’s national monuments and worked alongside the Nevada congressional delegation to introduce the Nuclear Waste Informed Consent Act, which would ensure Nevadans have a voice in any plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.
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.