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Sen. Harry Reid (1939–), D-Nev., has been a U.S. senator since 1987 and became Senate Majority Leader in 2007, making him that body's most powerful member. With Barack Obama's election in 2008, Reid also became a key player in the president's agenda. Long a dominant figure within Nevada's Democratic Party, Reid also has been instrumental in driving developments affecting the West, and his actions reflect the influence upon him of his home state's mining past. Born on December 2, 1939, in Searchlight, Nevada, Harry Mason Reid grew up in a mining town past its prime. Raised in a house made of railroad ties and chicken wire, he attended a tiny school and hitchhiked north to Henderson to attend Basic High School, where he met his ...

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