The I-Team Talks With Senator Reid in Searchlight - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter

The I-Team Talks With Senator Reid in Searchlight

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Senator Reid talks with other diners at the Searchlight Nugget. Senator Reid talks with other diners at the Searchlight Nugget.
In his first interview since returning to Nevada, Reid invited the I-Team's George Knapp to his home in Searchlight to talk about the future. In his first interview since returning to Nevada, Reid invited the I-Team's George Knapp to his home in Searchlight to talk about the future.
The I-Team's George Knapp talks with Senator Reid over coffee at the Searchlight Nugget. The I-Team's George Knapp talks with Senator Reid over coffee at the Searchlight Nugget.

Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid will become the majority leader of the U.S. Senate when the new Congress convenes in January. It is the highest political position ever attained by a Nevadan.

Reid will have his hands full with national issues but knows he needs to take care of business here at home as well. In his first interview since returning to Nevada, Reid invited the I-Team's George Knapp to his home in Searchlight to talk about the future.

You can learn plenty about a person by walking around in their home.

Sen Harry Reid said, "Here, I'll show you the bathroom. This is my prized possession, a signed poster of the Grateful Dead." Harry Reid, a deadhead? Can it be true?

For security reasons, the I-Team cannot show the outside of Reid's home in the small mining town of Searchlight, but we got quite a tour of the inside -- the collection of Searchlight butterflies, the late Denny Dent's two-fisted art attack version of Martin Luther King Dent, likenesses of young Harry from high school days, and an amazing discovery from his high school yearbook where Reid was voted most humorous.

Sen. Harry Reid said, "Here it is, most humorous, right next to the most attractive."

It's doubtful Republican leaders find much to laugh about in Reid's ascension to the heights of political power. He has vowed to put Washington on a much more even keel, to hold hearings into such controversies as warrantless surveillance and the use of torture, and hope that the president keeps his promise to strive for bipartisan accord. The time for ideological purity, he says, is over.

"We have to govern the way we did for a couple hundred years, not on the basis of ideology, but to get things done. Think, it's been ten years since we've had a raise in the minimum wage. That's scary. Forty-seven million Americans don't have health insurance. We have someone trying to destroy social security," Reid said. 

Thursday morning, Reid took a call at home from Bill Clinton. As we had coffee at the Searchlight Nugget, he got a call from New York Senator Charles Schumer.

It's a heady time for Harry Reid, but he knows that he's now a lightning rod for Republicans and if he hopes to be reelected in four years, he needs to get things done for Nevada, to bring home the bacon without making it look like pork. One of those priorities is the Nevada Test Site.

Reid says he will be in a much stronger position to get compensation for hundreds of Test Site workers now dying of cancer and other diseases. And while he is not able to kill the Yucca Mountain Project outright, he says he can at least keep it from be fast-tracked. He wants to try and secure water resources including a bigger share of Colorado River water, and get money to help Southern Nevada's infrastructure keep up with our relentless growth.

His public lands bills have already brought tens of millions of dollars to the state for parks and preservation. He knows there are tough battles ahead on the national stage, and that if he wants to stay there, he needs to listen to the little folks back home.

Sen. Harry Reid said, "I am who I am and will do the best I can. It's a new title, but I'm still the same person."

Reid will be sworn in as majority leader on January 4th.

Email your comments to Investigative Reporter George Knapp.

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