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Julia Ratti: Rising Star of Nevada’s Democratic Party


By Don Dike Anukam

The 2019 legislative session had a dramatic start for Nevada Democrats, but one legislator, Sparks-based State Senator Julia Ratti (D), has remained above the fray. On Tuesday, March 5, in the in the early morning floor session of the Nevada State Senate, a sudden political earthquake came thundering through the halls of Nevada government.

State Senator Julia Ratti.

Veteran lawmaker, Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson (D), announced that he would be resigning from the State Senate effective that morning due to charges of embezzlement of campaign funds and wire fraud. He would later plead guilty in a federal court. He is awaiting sentencing.

More than a week later, another veteran lawmaker, Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D-Sparks), also announced he was resigning for allegations of sexual harassment. He was quickly replaced by Greg Smith.

These events left major holes in the Democratic caucus. Normally stories like could easily derail, delay, and be the focus for weeks on end. Yet as fast as it hit the news, both resignations quickly faded as legislative machinations moved forward.

State Senator
Nicole Cannizzaro.

But two experienced lawmakers have risen prominence in a legislature with a history-making female majority. University of Nevada, Reno graduate and Las Vegas State Senator, Nicole Cannizzaro (D), was elected leader of the caucus, and the other, Ratti, became assistant majority leader and second-in-command.

In that time, the estimable Ratti — the most-high ranking Northern Nevadan in leadership — has seamlessly aided the Senate Democratic caucus.

She is helping shepherd attention to issues that are near and dear to her personal life, such as fighting at the state level against the federal government’s attempt to repeal the ACA (Affordable Care Act).

“Senator Ratti has stepped up and is doing an amazing job.”

She told her story of how she had cancer and the pitfalls of insurance companies denying coverage of pre-existing conditions. She is making good on a promise to try to prevent insurers from using pre-existing conditions to block coverage to consumers.

She’s also helping to ensure that the caucus’s agenda has stayed focused and on time.

Ratti’s priorities also include affordable housing, addressing long-term tax and economic structural issues, and governments being able to effectively address growth and sustainability.

On a Tuesday night in Carson City, prior to presidential hopeful United States Senator Kamala Harris’ (D-Calif) speech to Battle Born Progress attendees, Ratti was honored for her work and leadership on progressive issues in the past year.

Other honorees included Emily Reese, a Northern Nevada activist and organizer who passed away last year, the Reno Gazette-Journal‘s Anjeanette Damon, former Democratic Party Executive Denise López, and the Washoe Education Association.

State Senator Mo Denis
(D-Las Vegas)

State Senator Mo Denis (D-Las Vegas) had this to say about Ratti:

“She’s doing great. When it comes to leadership for us we don’t necessarily look at where you from … and Senator Ratti has stepped up and is doing an amazing job being able to support our leader Cannizzaro. She is doing a great job.”

CORRECTION: Senator Ratti had cancer but was not near death, as originally reported.

Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike Anukam
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.