A dedicated public servant, Ruben Kihuen has committed himself personally and professionally to fighting for Nevada’s families, students and the underprivileged.
Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Ruben comes from humble beginnings. His parents, Armando and Blanca, moved Ruben and his three siblings – older brothers Omar and Jorge, and his younger sister Mariana – to Las Vegas in search for a better life. Ruben draws inspiration from their hard work as field laborers and maids, remembering the many other families who have shared in the same immigrant experience.
Ruben began his career as a work-study employee at the College of Southern Nevada and was quickly promoted to a recruiter, then academic advisor and finally to diversity programs manager. At CSN, he motivated and recruited hundreds of students – many from low-income, minority backgrounds – to pursue their dreams of higher education.
In addition to his work in academics, Ruben became politically involved at an early age. He mobilized communities and activated voters as a field organizer in Nevada, Virginia, Florida and Texas before becoming a Regional Representative for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Ruben played an integral role in increasing Senator Reid’s engagement with Hispanic and immigrant communities.
In 2006, wanting to serve his community more directly, Ruben ran for State Assembly. He defeated a well-funded incumbent and became the first Hispanic immigrant elected to the Nevada Legislature. During his first year as an assemblyman, Ruben was named “Co-Freshman of the Year” for his legislative work.
After serving two terms in the State Assembly, Ruben ran for the State Senate, becoming one of the youngest state senators in modern Nevada history. He went on to found the Nevada Hispanic Legislative Caucus with Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, bringing six other legislators on board and helping Nevada’s Hispanics receive better representation at the Nevada Legislature.
For the past three years, Ruben Kihuen has served the 10th District of Nevada as their State Senator. The district covers central and east Las Vegas, including the Las Vegas Strip, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and its surrounding campus and McCarran International Airport. In the Senate, Ruben serves as Majority Whip, Chairman of the Revenue and Economic Development Committee, Vice-Chairman of the Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Education Committee.
Ruben obtained his bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is completing his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma. He has earned many honors and accolades over the years, including “Rising Star Award” and the “John F. Kennedy Award” by the Nevada State Democratic Party, “Hispanic of the Year” by the Latin Chamber of Commerce, “Outstanding Political Activist” by the City of Las Vegas. However, one of his proudest accomplishments remains having been named “Nevada High Schools Soccer Player of the Year.” An avid fan of the sport, Ruben plays soccer to this day.