R.I.P. Senator Debbie Smith


Rest in Peace and Strength, Senator Debbie Smith — Our thoughts and prayers, from Democrats all across Nevada, go out to Senator Smith’s family in their time of sorrow.

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Smith was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2015. She had successful surgery to remove the tumor before returning for the final six weeks of the session.

A memorial service will be held Sunday in Sparks. ​The service will be at noon Sunday at the Sparks High School gym. Parking is available at the lot behind the school.  Child care will be provided at Sparks High during the service in a classroom adjacent to the gym for children who are diaper-trained.
Should attendees choose to wear a particular color in honor of Debbie, gray is the color representing brain cancer.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Smith’s name to the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, which supports brain tumor research. Donations can be made online at the following link: https://drmarnierosefoundation.racepartner.com/debbiesmith

Official Statements honoring Senator Smith:


Senator Harry Reid:

“Debbie Smith was the epitome of an ideal neighbor, friend and public servant. A believer in the good of government, Debbie’s advocacy for adequately funding our education system will be felt in Nevada for a long time. Northern Nevadans, no matter what party, had a fighter in the Legislature. Despite her difficult year, her positive outlook on life was admirable to all. She was my friend and I will miss her.”


NV Dems Chair Roberta Lange

“Debbie Smith was a giant in the Nevada Legislature who fought tirelessly for Washoe County and Nevada’s working families. No one knew the state budget more or fought harder for more education funding than Debbie. Last session, when she was courageously fighting cancer, Debbie still made sure to get to the legislature to vote for the historic increase in education funding. No one in this state cared more about improving education for our kids than Debbie. I am proud to have called her a friend. On behalf of every Democrat in Nevada, I extend my thoughts and prayers to her family.


Mayor Geno Martini

“Today is a sad day for the City of Sparks and the State of Nevada. Senator Smith was an effective and principled leader and a champion of education, as well as a number of important human causes throughout our state. She was also a champion for her City, and I was always grateful for her strong partnership and advocacy on behalf of the citizens of Sparks. She fought for our citizens every day. She was so brave and strong as she battled her illness publicly. Senator Smith is a great Nevadan who will be missed but will never be forgotten.”

“On behalf of the Sparks City Council and the citizens of Sparks, I offer my deepest condolences to Senator Smith’s husband Greg and their family. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with Debbie and her family for many days to come.”


Mayor Hillary Schieve

“I was incredibly saddened today to learn of the passing of Debbie Smith. A Nevada resident for most of her life, Debbie was one of our state’s strongest advocates for public education. Her work in the Nevada Assembly and Nevada Senate was marked not only by her dedication to bettering education policy, but also by her support of wildlife and conservation issues. I, along with my fellow Reno City Council Members, extend our sympathy to Debbie’s family and friends during this difficult time. She will be missed.”


Chair of the Board of Washoe County Commissioners, Kitty Jung:

“Debbie Smith was a champion for Washoe County and I was heartbroken to hear of her passing,” Jung (Dist. 3) said. “Her dedication and collaboration in the State Assembly and State Senate to supporting children, seniors and adults was exemplary. We were lucky to have someone of her caliber care so deeply about the people of Northern Nevada. On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, we send our thoughts to her family during this very difficult time.”


Rep. Dina Titus

“Senator Debbie Smith was a dear friend, a valued colleague, and a genuinely good person. She always put Nevada’s children first and never sought any credit or personal attention. Her last fight was her toughest, but the angels will now be fortunate to have her on their team.”


Congressman Mark Amodei

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my dear friend, Senator Debbie Smith. Debbie was a respected colleague and I will always value our time serving together in the Nevada Assembly and Senate. As a dedicated public servant with a huge heart for children and families, Debbie fought tirelessly to ensure every child in Nevada received a great education. Nevada will undoubtedly benefit from her courageous leadership and unwavering devotion to her constituents and state. Her work has touched the lives of many and she will be sorely missed. I send my deepest condolences to her husband, Greg and their three children.”


Washoe County School District Superintendent Traci Davis

“Sen. Debbie Smith was an extraordinary champion for children,” said Superintendent Traci Davis. “She waged courageous, sometimes lonely, battles to improve education in our state. She was instrumental in improving education policy and safety measures in schools. She introduced and helped pass legislation to put epi-pens in every school, a measure which saved the lives of two of our students who suffered life-threatening allergic reactions within the first month after the devices were placed in our schools, and many more lives since. For years, she fought for increased classroom funding, capital funding to relieve overcrowding and repair older schools, and established family engagement as a priority for school districts across Nevada. In Carson City during the last session, she helped pass legislation to combat bullying and abuse. She fought the good fight, both in the public forum and in her final, personal battle against cancer. I will miss her leadership, her commitment, and her devotion to education. This is a profound and painful loss for all of us in the Washoe County School District, and for the children of Nevada.”


Washoe County School District Board President Angie Taylor

“I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Sen. Debbie Smith. She was a fierce and selfless advocate for education and for our children, and the effects of her tireless dedication will be felt in this state for decades to come. Through her work with the Nevada State Senate, Nevada State Assembly, Education Alliance of Washoe County, Nevada PTA, and a host of other agencies, she established herself as a powerful defender and supporter of children, families, and public education. This is a tremendous loss for Nevada, but her legacy will live on through all of the lives she touched. I offer my condolences to her wonderful family and friends. It was a privilege and an honor to know her.”

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