LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Former Democratic Congressman James Bilbray has died, according to a tweet Sunday from Gov. Steve Sisolak.
“Today, Nevada lost a giant, Sisolak wrote. “Bilbray was a good friend, who I respected and loved.”
In a separate tweet, Sisolak called Bilbray, “an amazing public servant and an even better friend.”
Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus currently represents Nevada’s 1st congression district, a seat Bilbray held for eight years from 1987 to 1995. She tweeted her condolences.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my friend, former Congressman James Bilbray,” Titus wrote. “He was a respected public servant and dedicated conservationist.”
Former Republican Congressional candidate Danny Tarkanian remembered Bilbray with an online statement.
“One of Nevada’s great public servants passed away today,” wrote Tarkanian, the son of legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. “Without his help fighting the NCAA in Congress, there is a good chance UNLV never would have won a national championship.”
Bilbray, 83, was born in Las Vegas in 1938. He graduated from Las Vegas High School and attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before moving to Washington, D.C. to attend American University and the Washington College of Law.
Bilbray was an attorney and deputy district attorney of Clark County and served in the Nevada State Senate. He was elected to Congress in 1986 to fill the seat vacated by Harry Reid, who won an election for U.S. Senate that same year.
Bilbray was married with four children, 3 daughters, and one son who has passed away. His daughter, Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, currently serves in the Nevada Assembly.
There is an elementary school in the far northwest valley named in Bilbray’s honor.