Las Vegas Sun

October 15, 2019

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Nevada Legislature first in U.S. with majority women

Nguyen

John Locher / AP

Rochelle Thuy Nguyen greets her daughter Hannah Lay at their home, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Nevada became the first state in the U.S. with an overall female majority in the Legislature on Tuesday when county officials in Las Vegas appointed Nguyen and another women to fill vacancies in the state Assembly.

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018 | 7:30 p.m.

The first majority-female legislature in the country will convene in Carson City in February after a series of recent appointments.

The Nevada Legislature will have 32 women and 31 men, with 23 women in the 42-member Assembly and nine in the 21-member Senate.

Clark County commissioners helped tip the scales today after voting to appoint Beatrice Angela Duran and Rochelle Thuy Nguyen to the Assembly, replacing Chris Brooks, who was recently appointed to the Senate, and Olivia Diaz, who is running for Las Vegas City Council.

"The Assembly Democratic caucus is proud to welcome Rochelle Nguyen and Beatrice Duran to the state Assembly and our caucus," Speaker Jason Frierson said. "In addition to a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences, both Rochelle and Beatrice bring passion, energy and knowledge to the state Legislature that will better serve our state and our constituents."

Nguyen, an attorney, and Duran, a grievance specialist with the state's casino workers union, will hold their seats until the next general election in 2020.

Duran has been a staff member since 1999 at the powerful Culinary Workers Union Local 226, a key political organization in the state.

Nguyen, a criminal defense lawyer, called the milestone "fantastic."

"When women do better, I think families are stronger," Nguyen said.

Voters last month elected 30 women and 30 men, with three vacancies to be decided.

No other state has a legislature where at least half of the seats are filled by women, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Vermont has one of the largest proportions of female lawmakers at 40 percent.

With the two Nevada appointments, women will make up 28.6 percent of state legislators nationwide when new legislators are sworn into office in 2019, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics.

Women made up 24.3 percent of state legislators in the U.S. a decade ago, the center said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.