|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Nevada's 4th district
January 3, 2019
January 3, 2013 - January 3, 2015
|Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate|
February 9, 2009 - January 3, 2013
|Member of the Nevada Senate|
from the 4th district
February 7, 2005 - January 3, 2013
Steven Alexander Horsford
April 29, 1973
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Education||University of Nevada, Reno (BA)|
Steven Alexander Horsford (born April 29, 1973) is an American politician and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Nevada's 4th congressional district since 2019, previously holding the position from 2013 to 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the Nevada Senate, representing the 4th district, in Clark County, from 2005 to 2013. Horsford was the first African American to serve as Majority Leader (2009-2013) and the first African American to represent Nevada in Congress.
After his election defeat in 2014, Horsford declined to run again in 2016, instead becoming an executive with an international Las Vegas-based business and marketing consulting firm, R&R Partners, for which he had worked before beginning his political career. In January 2018, he announced that he would run again for his old seat in the midterm elections, which he won in November 2018, defeating former Republican U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy in a rematch of their 2014 race.
Horsford was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. His mother, Pamela Horsford, came to the U.S. from Trinidad in her teens and gave birth to Horsford when she was 17. While attending Ed W. Clark High School in Las Vegas, Horsford worked at Pizza Hut and at a veterinarian's office, where he cleaned kennels after hours.
When Horsford was 19, his father, Gary Shelton, was killed. One report states that Shelton "was shot and killed at work by a man who had tried to rob the store" in North Las Vegas at which he worked as a cook, while another report states that he "was killed in a drug incident." After his father's death, Horsford temporarily returned home from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he had been studying political science and communications. Horsford returned to college the following year. He received a degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2014.
Horsford was CEO of the Culinary Training Academy, a job training program. He also served on the Southern Nevada Workforce Investment Board. In 1996, he began working at R&R Partners in Las Vegas.
In 2004, incumbent Democratic State Senator Joe Neal, from Clark County's 4th Senate district, decided to retire in order to run for a seat on the Clark County Commission. Horsford ran and defeated Republican Mabel Florence Lucier 72%-28%. He became the fourth African American to serve as a State Senator since the Nevada Legislature first convened in 1864. In 2008, he won reelection to a second term with 74% of the vote.
Horsford served in six special sessions and four regular sessions of the Nevada Legislature. In February 2009, he assumed the position of Nevada Senate Majority Leader.
In November 2009, Horsford was caught by a Las Vegas television station illegally parking his SUV with his personalized license plate "State Senator 17" in a handicapped parking space at a park for six hours. Horsford's car was noticed by the mother of a disabled child. Horsford apologized, saying "There was no excuse, it should have never happened." He said that he had made a donation to a nonprofit group in the amount that he would have been fined had he been caught by a law enforcement official.
In the summer of 2010, Horsford sent a fundraising letter from his PAC soliciting donations in exchange for private meals or receptions to meet with various Democratic legislative leaders and Senate committee chairs. Following criticism that the letter amounted to "pay to play," he discontinued the solicitation program and refunded all donations made in response to the letter.
In 2011 web poker giant PokerStars treated Horsford to a trip to the Bahamas prior to the introduction of legislation that would benefit the online gaming industry. Horsford personally reimbursed the full cost of the trip, but said, "It was productive. They made a good presentation." Horsford received $37,500 in campaign contributions from PokerStars. Forty seven other Nevada legislators, including his subsequent opponent, Cresent Hardy, received contributions from PokerStars. Horsford and some other legislators later returned the contributions.
In his last session in the Nevada Senate, he served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee and also served on the Senate Committee on Revenue and the Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.
In October 2011, Horsford announced he would run for Congress, but did not know at the time which district he would run in because the Nevada Legislature had not finished the redistricting maps. He decided to run in the newly created 4th congressional district, which includes the northern portion of Clark County as well as all or part of the rural counties of Lincoln, White Pine, Nye, Esmeralda, Mineral and Douglas.
Horsford was due to face former State Representative John Jay Lee in the Democratic primary. However, Lee dropped out in November, effectively handing the nomination to Horsford. He defeated Republican Danny Tarkanian in November by 50%-42%. Although Tarkanian won the rural counties in the district by margins of better than 2-to-1, Horsford carried Clark County, home to four-fifths of the district's voters, by 28,800 votes.
Horsford's two-year term began on January 3, 2013. He did not resign from the Nevada Senate as it would not be in session before the end of his term on February 4, 2013. He was a member of the House Progressive Caucus, and was the only caucus member who supported the September 30, 2013, continuing resolution that contained a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate.
Horsford was an original co-sponsor of H.R.15, which would have created a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has said that Congress needs to address immigration as a whole, not just young people living in the country illegally. He said increased border security with Mexico and Canada was needed, but that a southern border wall would not solve the immigration problem, as reported the Las Vegas Sun in 2018.
Horsford "sees healthcare as a right, not a privilege." He believes that all Americans should have health care of the sort provided to veterans and senior citizens.
He supports a gun-reform package that would include background checks, a ban on assault weapons and bump stocks, an end to gun-show loopholes, an increase in mental-health funding and programs to address bullying in schools. Asked in May 2018 about gun confiscation, he said, "I believe we have to be very careful under the Second Amendment not to take away someone's right, but to be clear, assault rifles and weapons of war are not the same as other forms of weapons, and we need to be very careful and make a clear distinction."
During his first term in Congress, Horsford worked on "an agreement that allowed for the designation of the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument and the designation of about 50,000 acres of wilderness in north-central Nevada." He does not support the transfer of federal land in Nevada to state control, saying, "Nevada hasn't been able to properly fund education. How is it going to be able to manage 87 percent of public lands that are now currently managed by BLM, Forest Service and wildlife? Let's be realistic about our priorities and let's continue being partners."
Horsford is a strong supporter of Israel and has described the controversy about the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem as "a distraction away from the important international issues we are right now faced with."
Horsford supports an increase in the federal minimum wage. In March 2014, as part of a "constituent outreach effort," he went undercover to help a UPS driver deliver packages, partly "to get a from-the-ground perspective of the working man and woman in Las Vegas" and partly "to argue for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10."
Horsford announced in January 2018 that he would run to replace retiring incumbent Ruben Kihuen in Nevada's 4th congressional district. Kihuen declined to run for a second term following sexual harassment allegations. Horsford won the June 2018 Democratic primary and went on to face Republican nominee Cresent Hardy in the general election. In the November 2018 general election, Horsford defeated Hardy by 8 points, avenging his 2014 loss. He was sworn in on January 3, 2019.
Horsford was active in arranging for Nevada to host the second national presidential caucus in 2008. He was an early supporter of Barack Obama's candidacy, co-chairing Obama's campaign in the state.
Horsford was the national vice chairman of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and served as the Democratic National Committeeman for the State of Nevada. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee's Change Commission and its Rules & Bylaws Committee.
In April 2015, Horsford resumed working at R&R Partners. As an officer of that company, he oversaw an effort to help MGM Resorts International ensure that it kept its word to officials in Prince George's County, Maryland, that at least half of the workforce for the MGM National Harbor in Maryland would be made up of residents of that county and that the MGM National Harbor would contract with minority-owned firms.
| Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|New constituency|| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 4th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 4th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority