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Clark County appoints first Asian American to Nevada Senate

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday appointed the first Asian American to serve in the Nevada Senate.

Newly appointed state Sen. Rochelle Nguyen — who was a state assemblywoman until a unanimous vote Tuesday — replaces former state Sen. Chris Brooks, D-Las Vegas, who stepped down from his position representing District 3 for a job in the private sector.

“I know I have very large shoes to fill,” Nguyen, a Democrat, told commissioners in brief remarks. “I hope I can make people proud.”

She later wrote in a statement: “I am humbled and honored to receive this appointment to the State Senate and look forward to the task ahead.”

“I plan on working hard to ensure we are adequately funding our public schools, that health care is affordable as well as accessible, and that all voices are represented,” Nguyen added.

Nguyen was nominated by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas. Commissioners now need to appoint her Assembly replacement, who must be from her same party.

“In the State Assembly, Assemblywoman Nguyen was exceptionally effective in navigating the legislative process and delivering for the constituents of her district,” Cannizzaro wrote in a statement. “In the State Senate, I have no doubt that Senator Nguyen will be equally as effective in improving the lives of hardworking Nevadans. I am excited to welcome her to the State Senate and our Democratic Caucus.”

The Democratic caucus announced Nguyen would serve on the Finance, Judiciary and Health, and Human Services committees in the legislative session that starts in February. She will be the vice chair of the latter.

Assembly Democrats said Nguyen “brought passion, energy, and extensive knowledge to the body, quickly developing a reputation as a hard worker and effective legislator.”

The caucus noted her work on “landmark” legislation, including criminal justice reform, short-term rental regulations and advocacy for domestic violence victims.

“Although I am sad that Rochelle’s time in the Assembly has come to a close, I am excited that she will continue her public service in the Nevada State Senate,” said Assembly Speaker-designate Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, in a statement. “She is a relentless hard worker and was an integral part of the Assembly’s successes since the 2019 session. I wish her all the best in her new role and look forward to working with her in the upcoming legislative session and beyond.”

Clark County first appointed Nguyen to the Assembly in 2019 to replace Brooks when he became a state senator. She later won the seat in the 2020 and 2022 elections.

Other elected Democrats took to Twitter to congratulate Nguyen, whose Senate term expires in 2024.

“Happy to have voted to appoint my friend @rochellenguyen to the Nevada State Senate!” County Commissioner Justin Jones wrote. “I look forward to continuing our collaboration to make sure Nevada is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

U.S. Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., highlighted her history-making appointment and said Nguyen will continue “blazing a path forward for all Nevadans.”

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus wrote to Nguyen on Twitter: “I look forward to working with you to fight for policies that help all Southern Nevadans.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @rickytwrites.

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