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Sen. Cortez Masto grieves loss of staffer killed in hit-and-run

Kurt Englehart, a longtime campaign and official staffer for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, died in early April from injuries sustained in a hit-and-run car crash in Reno.

Elmer Rueda-Linares, an 18-year-old who was in the country illegally, was arrested in connection with the death, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.

“Senator Cortez Masto looks forward to justice being served and has confidence in the local police and prosecutors,” said Lauren Wodarski, spokesperson for Cortez Masto, in an email.

In a statement posted on X, Cortez Masto said she was heartbroken. Englehart had been a staff member for eight years. She said Englehart was always eager to help a constituent and touched many people’s lives.

“I know almost everyone in Northern Nevada has a great story about Kurt helping them or making them laugh,” she said. “Kurt was a dedicated public servant, a loyal friend, and a loving father.

Nevada Republicans have used the incident to criticize Democrats on social media for what they deem as lax border security policies and to promote stricter immigration policies.

Cortez Masto is an advocate for securing the border and recently supported a bipartisan border package. She has gone against her party on immigration issues, opposing the Biden administration’s decision to overturn the Trump-era Title 42 policy in place that allowed border patrol agents to turn away asylum seekers during the pandemic.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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