Nov. 7, 2012 – 1:23 a.m.

113th Congress: Steven Horsford, D-Nev. (4th District)

A rising star in Nevada Democratic politics, Steven Horsford’s election makes him the first African-American to represent the Silver State in Congress. He previously served as the first African-American majority leader in the Nevada Senate, and was the youngest person ever to hold that post.

Horsford arrives in Washington with what he says is a willingness to work across party lines but a determination to stand up for core Democratic principles.

“I will fight with everything in my being to protect Medicare and Social Security,” Horsford told the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Horsford supports tax cuts for lower- and middle-income earners, as well as for small businesses. He has vowed to help diversify the gambling- and tourism-focused Nevada economy, in part by adding renewable energy jobs, and to tackle the state’s foreclosure crisis.

He is not averse to political confrontation. As Senate majority leader in 2011, Horsford vowed to block the state budget proposed by newly elected Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, ultimately helping to change the spending plan to provide more money for education and other services.

Horsford ascribes much of his political outlook to his upbringing in a poor section of West Las Vegas. He was 19 when his father was shot and killed, and his mother struggled to overcome addiction.