Dina Titus

Dina Titus
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 2009 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Jon Porter
Succeeded by Joe Heck
Member of the Nevada Senate
from the Clark 7th district
In office
Succeeded by David Parks
Personal details
Born May 23, 1950 (1950-05-23) (age 61)
Thomasville, Georgia
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Thomas Clayton Wright, Ph.D.
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada
Alma mater The College of William & Mary,
University of Georgia,
Florida State University
Profession professor of political science
Website www.dinatitus.com

Alice Costandina "Dina" Titus (born May 23, 1950) is the former U.S. Representative for Nevada's 3rd congressional district, serving from 2009 until 2011. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She previously served in the Nevada Senate and was that body's minority leader from 1993 to 2009.

Prior to her election to Congress, Titus was an active professor of political science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). She taught American and Nevada government at UNLV for 30 years.


Early life and education

Titus was born in Thomasville, Georgia. She grew up in the rural Georgia town of Tifton, which she describes as very similar to areas of rural Nevada, but with cotton and peanuts as key agricultural exports instead of the alfalfa, vegetable, and fruit crops of the Silver State. Titus's first exposure to politics came at an early age, when her father, Joe Titus, ran for the Tifton City Council. Her uncle, Theo Titus, served in the Georgia House of Representatives for many years.[1]

Dina Titus's high school years included cheerleading and dancing lessons, in addition to her studies. She attended a summer program at The College of William & Mary and was admitted full time for the fall - without a high school diploma. There, she studied political science.[1]

After earning her bachelor's degree from William and Mary, Titus went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. from Florida State University.[1]

Academic career

After a year teaching at North Texas State University, Titus moved to Nevada and a faculty position in the Political Science Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Over the past 30 years, her students have included a virtual who's-who list in Nevada government, public service and legal circles, and the popularity of her classes is reflected in the teaching-related awards she has received.[1]

Titus also created and continues to coordinate the Legislative Internship Program at UNLV, which each session affords the opportunity for a group of students to work at the Legislature.

Titus is considered by friends and close acquaintances to be an expert in Nevada politics, state politics, atomic policy (weapons & waste), legislative process, and women in politics.[2]

Nevada Senate

First elected in 1988, Titus served for 20 years in the Nevada Senate. Her major achievements from the 2007 session included:

Access to vaccines

Titus authored a bill that requires health insurance companies to cover the costs of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Gardasil protects women and girls from 70% of cervical cancers. The bill passed both the Nevada Senate and the Nevada Assembly and was signed by Governor Jim Gibbons.

Regulation of credit card rates

Titus authored a bill banning "universal default clauses" that have enabled some credit card issuers to boost interest rates by 30 percent or more. The bill passed the Nevada Senate and Assembly, but was vetoed by Jim Gibbons. Credit Card providers Citibank and Chase rolled back or eliminated universal default clauses due to political pressure in the U.S. Congress.[3]

Measure to care for pets in emergencies

Titus authored the bill that provides for the rescue of pets in a natural disaster emergency. The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Randolph Townsend (R) and Valerie Wiener (D). She told Las Vegas television station Channel 3 KVBC, "We all remember heartbreaking scenes and stories from Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida... When lives are turned upside down by disaster, people seek comfort and normalcy. To exacerbate problems by forcing a disaster victim to leave behind a beloved pet - a member of their family - is both unconscionable and entirely unnecessary. Emergency responders can and should take into account pets and service animals in disaster rescue and recovery plans. Planning could save disaster victims from needless additional pain at a most difficult time."[4] The bill was signed into law in June, 2007.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Political positions

Nuclear issues

Titus is the author of Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics, University of Nevada Press, Revised Edition 2001, and Battle Born: Federal-State Relations in Nevada During the Twentieth Century, Kendall-Hunt, 1989. She has also published numerous scholarly articles.

As a result of her publications, Titus is internationally known for her expertise in the history of nuclear power, weaponry and waste and in policies relating to those areas. She appeared in the 2006 PBS documentary "The American Experience: Las Vegas – an Unconventional History" by acclaimed director Steven Ives, where she discussed nuclear issues and Las Vegas history.

Today, the Atomic Testing Museum on the Las Vegas campus of the Desert Research Institute features the Dina Titus Reading Room, in recognition of her scholarly achievement in the field.

2008 Member: Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation; Nevada-California Super Speed Ground Transportation Commission; Clark County Women’s Democratic Club; Nevada Commission on Participatory Democracy; Education Commission of the States.[5]

Political campaigns

Titus at the 2008 Nevada Democratic State Convention


Incumbent Governor Kenny Guinn could not run in 2006 due to term limits. Titus won the Democratic nomination, but lost to Republican Congressman Jim Gibbons.


Democrats were heavily targeting 3rd district Republican incumbent Jon Porter. Their top candidate was Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas, but in April, Daskas dropped out for family reasons. Democrats then quickly recruited Titus, who had won the district in her unsuccessful 2006 run for Governor. Titus defeated Porter in November, 47% to 42%, becoming the first Democrat to represent the District. She was a major beneficiary of the over-all anti-Bush sentiment in the Las Vegas area. Titus was elected Regional Whip in the 111th Congress [6]


Titus was defeated by Republican former State Senator Joe Heck by a margin of 2000 votes.


On October 31, 2011; Titus entered the Democratic primary for Nevada's 1st congressional district, where her home had been drawn in redistricting. The incumbent, fellow Democrat Shelley Berkley, is giving up the seat to run for the United States Senate. While the 3rd is considered a swing district, the 1st is far and away the safest Democratic seat in Nevada, and whoever wins the primary will be heavily favored in November[7].

Personal life

Titus has been married to Professor Thomas C. Wright for 30 years. Wright's studies in his field of expertise - Latin American history - have taken the couple on extended journeys to Mexico, Central America, several South American countries, and Spain. Wright is a retired professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.[8] He is the son of the late John S. Wright, a former professor of history at UNLV, for whom a campus building is named.[9]

Titus is also a member of the Tortoise Group of Clark County, Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation, PEO International, National League of American Pen Women, Nevada Women's Lobby, Women’s Research Institute of Nevada, Nevada Commission on Participatory Democracy, Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center, Las Vegas Little Theater, the Educational Commission of the States, National Wildlife Federation, and the Nature Conservancy.

On April 13, 2009, Titus was named Outstanding Democrat of the Year by the Paradise Democratic Club of Las Vegas for the second time. President Barack Obama sent her a congratulatory letter.

In December 2010, Senator Harry Reid appointed her to a six-year term on the United States Commission on Civil Rights.[10]

Awards and honors

  • Nevada Arts and Humanities Award for Public Service, 2004
  • Nevada Women’s Lobby, “Outstanding Nevada Women,” 2003
  • Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center, Legislative Advocate Award, 2003
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President's Medal, 2002
  • Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Profiles in Courage Award, 2001
  • Mediators of Southern Nevada, Peacemaker of the Year, 2001
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal, Favorite Female Las Vegan, 1997, 1999
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal, Outstanding Legislator of the Year, 1999
  • Nevada Arts Advocate of the Year, 1999
  • Spanos Outstanding Teacher, UNLV, 1985
  • Chair, Nevada Humanities Committee, 1984–1986


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jon Porter
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 3rd congressional district

2009 - 2011
Succeeded by
Joe Heck

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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