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Legislative Watch

Dina Titus

 Dina Titus

District: Clark No. 7
Political Party: Democrat
Current Job/Position: Educator
Born: 1950
Hometown: Tifton, Ga.
Family: Husband Thomas Clayton Wright, a UNLV history professor
Education: BA, Col. of William and Mary, 1970; M.A., Univ. of GA; Ph.D., FL St. Univ., 1976
Interviewed By: Andrea Stevens with contributions by Daniel Riggs
Interview Date: 11/5/2007
Dina Titus has represented the 7th Senatorial district of Las Vegas, which includes the Las Vegas Strip and UNLV, since 1988.  She has been the Democratic Minority Leader since 1992. For 30 years, Titus has taught American and Nevada Government at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  She also advocated full-day kindergarten, harsher penalties for criminals who commit identity theft, and crimes against disabled persons.

Q & A

Q - How did you get to where you are?
I guess you could say that I’m a 'poli-sci' geek. Running for office was just a natural extension.

Q - What other jobs did you have leading up to this one?
This is the only political office I have ever held. I taught one year at North Texas State University, and the rest at UNLV.

Q - Did you always want to be doing what you're doing now?
Yes, I grew up in a political family and went to school in the birthplace of American democracy.

Q - What are your goals for your regular career or personally?
Part of my job is teaching, and I do not teach opinions. I would really like my students to draw their own opinions... My agenda has always focused on education because I am an educator.

Q - What are your hobbies or interests?
I enjoy traveling and teaching abroad with my husband. I like crossword puzzles.  And I’m a pretty good cook.

Q - What are your favorite causes?
I worked a lot on environmental issues in the legislature like preserving Nevada’s natural treasures. Also, renewable energy, and education are big.

Q - Who or what were your inspirations?
I come from a political family, so I would consider my family an inspiration. Also, the colonial American heroes are my heroes.
See “Did you know?” below for offices held by Sen. Titus’ family members. Sen. Titus also discussed her grandfather who migrated from Greece and volunteered in a soup kitchen during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. “I come from a long line of, kind of FDR Democrats.”

Legislature Questions

Q - What are your legislative goals this session?
(During the 2007 Legislative Session) I am working on all day kindergarten, global warming, and reducing greenhouse gasses. Also, I am trying to get the HPV vaccine (human papilloma virus) for girls available in Nevada, which prevents cervical cancer.
Sen. Titus discussed a possible “cap and trade” bills to limit emissions from Nevada business -- specifically mining and coal companies and power plants. A previous attempt to pass a “cap and trade” bill failed. The attempt did lead, however, to an agreement on a state emissions inventory to know how many emissions are being emitted and by what companies in Nevada. Sen. Titus said an inventory is the next step to having a “cap and trade” bill passed.

Q - What issues facing Nevada do you think are most important?
Right now the serious issue is declining revenue.  And that is due in large part to the subprime mortgage crisis.  Sen. Titus discussed postponing building projects and tapping into a state “rainy day fund” of about $280 million to ease financial tensions instead of cuts to the state budget. Sen. Titus said that mental health and disabled persons programs would likely suffer first from a state budget cut. “That’s what’s left on the table to cut. And we really can’t afford to make those cuts.” Sen. Titus suggested using about $200 million from the fund. (Sen. Titus had originally answered that environmental issues were the most important in an interview in April; some answers are from that interview.)

Q - How do you view the slim republican majority in the Senate?
Well, it makes the dynamics very interesting. With the11 to 10 (margin), it makes us more competitive and involved in the policy process.

Q - How do you view the large democratic majority in the Assembly?
That is a good backup for us and gives us more clout. We have a very good working relationship.

Q - On what issue will you not budge?
Abortion…a woman’s right to choose. That is an issue where there is not much room for compromise.
“From a policy standpoint, this legislative session has the potential to put our state on a great path for the future. And from a political standpoint, the spotlight on Nevada has never been brighter. Whatever your political leanings, Nevada’s early Democratic Caucus represents a tremendous opportunity to put our issues and concerns on the national stage.”- Dina Titus, Nevada Democratic Minority Leader

Q - Are there any other topics you would like to discuss that I havn't already asked about you?
From a policy standpoint, this legislative session has the potential to put our state on a great path for the future. And from a political standpoint, the spotlight on Nevada has never been brighter. Whatever your political leanings, Nevada’s early Democratic Caucus represents a tremendous opportunity to put our issues and concerns on the national stage.

Did you Know?

  • Dina Titus coordinates the Legislative Internship Program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, giving each student the opportunity to work at the Legislature.
  • Dina Titus grew up in a supportive family and learned the value of involvement at a young age. Her father, Joe Titus, ran for the Tifton City Council. Her Uncle, Theo Titus, served in the Georgia House of Representatives for many years.
  • Dina Titus and her husband, Professor Thomas C. Wright, have taken various trips around the globe to places such as Mexico, Central America, Spain and several South American countries. Her personal roots are as a Greek-American; Dina particularly enjoys Greece.
  • Dina Titus wrote various environmental related books like, “Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics,” and “Battle Born: Federal-State Relations in Nevada During the Twentieth Century.”


  • Sources:

    www.dinatitus.com

    http://www.nevadanewsmakersoutreach.com/admin/legistlativewatch/



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