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Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich Dies at 91

Former Rep. Barbara Vucanovich, a GOP congressional staffer who became the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress, died Monday in Reno, Nev. She was 91.

The Reno Gazette-Journal first reported the news. Before her election to Congress in 1982, she was a businesswoman who owned a franchise of the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Co., as well as a travel agency before going to work as a staffer for Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev. She served seven terms in the House, representing Nevada’s 2nd District, which was created after the 1980 census and represented most of Nevada except for Las Vegas during her time.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., issued a statement praising Vucanovich as a “great Nevadan”: “During one of my first trips to Washington, Barbara took me, a complete stranger, to lunch in the congressional dining hall. Ever since that day, I have admired her and valued her wisdom, experience and friendship. Barbara always stressed that constituent services and responding directly to Nevadans’ needs are the most important responsibilities of public service. Grateful for that advice, I took it to heart and have always tried to follow the high standard she set.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who was first elected to the House the same year as Vucanovich, released a statement saying, “Barbara and I came to Congress together in 1983. She was such a pleasure to work with.”

A viewing will be held Thursday in Reno at the Our Lady of the Snows Church, and the funeral will be held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Reno on Friday.

A memorial reception will be held at John Ascuaga’s Nugget casino resort in Sparks, Nev., after the funeral.

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