When former Republican Rep. Barbara Vucanovich of Nevada died on June 10, two weeks short of her 92nd birthday, she was recalled as a trailblazer for Republican women in politics and for the Silver State.
After years of working for Republican Paul Laxalt when he was governor and U.S. senator, Vucanovich was elected to the U.S. House in 1982 from the sprawling 2nd Congressional District.
Her slogan said it all: "What Nevada needs is a tough grandmother!"
She was the first female representative from Nevada and became the first Nevadan to serve in the House Republican leadership after winning the position of conference secretary. A member of the House Interior, Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee, Vucanovich wrote and oversaw passage of the law repealing the 55 mph speed limit.
Retiring from Congress in 1996, Vucanovich's career was all the more impressive when one considers she was a cancer survivor before being elected. Citing her characteristic determination and Nevada's nickname, Gov. Brian Sandoval hailed her as the "Silver Lady."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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