New era

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I graduated from Galena High here in Reno—class of ’98. One of the best—if not the best—class I took was an Advanced Placement Government class taught by John Linton. (I had to poke around a little to find his first name; I thought it was “Mister.”) I learned a lot in that class—the forms and functions of the three branches of government, the political parties, the early history and founding documents of the country—information I draw on nearly every day. And not to humble-brag, but I scored the highest possible score on the college-credit-earning AP government exam, which I credit more to good teaching than innate skill.

I remember our class discussing Nevada’s senator, Harry Reid, who was back then still a star on the rise. In my memory, he was already the Democratic Whip, but apparently he didn’t officially gain that title until later. (I think Mr. Linton predicted he would have it soon enough.) It was there that I really became politically aware. So when Reid became Whip, and then Minority Leader, and then Majority Leader, I understood all of those positions through the lens of what I had learned in Mr. Linton’s class. (Linton was notoriously cagey about his own political leanings, a wise move for a high school teacher. Even now I’d hesitate to guess his party allegiance.)

Of course, by the time I was learning about him, Reid had already been in the U.S. Senate for a decade, and was in the House for a couple of years before that. In other words, Reid has served in Congress for nearly my entire life. It’s a bit surreal to imagine him no longer in office. Over the years, he’s pissed me off a few times, and made me proud a couple of times as well.

Anyway, congrats to Catherine Cortez Masto on her recent swearing into office, and here’s to hoping that she’ll do more to make us proud than piss us off.

But it’s just strange that Harry Reid is no longer in Congress. To compare it to another one of my favorite high school classes, it would be a bit like learning hydrogen is no longer on the Periodic Table.

Brad Bynum