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Richard Hudson Bryan (born July 16, 1937) is an American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator from Nevada from 1989 to 2001. A Democrat, Bryan served as the 25th Governor of Nevada from 1983 to 1989, and before that served as the state's attorney general and a member of the State Senate.

Richard Bryan
Richard Bryan.jpg
United States Senator
from Nevada
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 2001
Preceded byChic Hecht
Succeeded byJohn Ensign
Chair of the Select Committee on Ethics
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byTerry Sanford
Succeeded byMitch McConnell
25th Governor of Nevada
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
LieutenantBob Cashell
Bob Miller
Preceded byRobert List
Succeeded byBob Miller
27th Attorney General of Nevada
In office
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983
GovernorRobert List
Preceded byRobert List
Succeeded byBrian McKay
Member of the Nevada Senate
In office
Personal details
Richard Hudson Bryan

(1937-07-16) July 16, 1937 (age 82)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (1971–present)
Bonnie Belinda Fairchild
(m. 1962; died 2016)
ResidenceLas Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Nevada at Reno
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1959–1960

Early lifeEdit

Bryan was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the University of Nevada at Reno in 1959 where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega and the president of ASUN.[2] He earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In 1963 he was admitted to the Nevada Bar. He was Clark County's first public defender.[3]

Political careerEdit

Early careerEdit

Bryan served as a member of the Nevada Senate from 1972 to 1978. In 1979, Bryan became the Nevada Attorney General, and served in the position until 1983.

Governor of NevadaEdit

Bryan was the Governor of Nevada from 1983 to 1989.

United States SenateEdit

After that, he represented Nevada in the U.S. Senate from 1989 until 2001. Bryan served on the following Senate Committees: Finance, Banking, Vice Chairman-U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and Commerce. He chose not to run for re-election in 2000.[4]

Bryan was an opponent of SETI and introduced an amendment to the 1994 budget that secured the cancellation of the High Resolution Microwave Survey and terminated NASA's SETI efforts.[5][6]

NASA criticized Bryan for his opposition to its SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program, especially because Bryan ignored the meeting requests from NASA staff.[7]

Another focus was on preventing Yucca Mountain, Nevada, being used as a nuclear waste long-term storage site. Though the repository would be built during Bryan's time in the senate, his opposition, along with numerous others', delayed any actual storage occurring. This opposition would continue long after Bryan had retired before plans for storage were discontinued by President Obama.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Famous ATOs". Alpha Tau Omega. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  3. ^ "After A Life Time Of Service, Richard Bryan Honored By Las Vegas, ACLU". Nevada Public Radio. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  4. ^ a b Bryan Not to Seek Re-election Washington Post, 19/02/99, Retrieved 12/04/18
  5. ^ Alexander, Amir. "A History of SETI - Explore the Cosmos". The Planetary Society. The Planetary Society. Archived from the original on September 9, 2009. Retrieved February 4, 2010. But less than one year after their launch, both searches were suddenly and irrevocably terminated, victims of a new wave of Congressional budget cuts. This time it was Senator Richard Bryan of Nevada who led the charge against governmental expenditures on SETI. "The Great Martian Chase," he said, "may finally come to an end. As of today millions have been spent and we have yet to bag a single little green fellow. Not a single Martian has said take me to your leader, and not a single flying saucer has applied for FAA approval."
  6. ^ H. Paul Shuch, ed. (2011). Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence: SETI past, present, and future. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 978-3-642-13195-0.
  7. ^ Garber, Stephen. "Searching for Good Science: The Cancellation of NASA's SETI Program" (PDF). Nasa History Office. Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. Retrieved October 9, 2014.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Robert List
Attorney General of Nevada
January 1, 1979 – January 3, 1983
Succeeded by
Brian McKay
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert List
Governor of Nevada
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989
Succeeded by
Bob Miller
Preceded by
Terry Sanford
Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1995
Succeeded by
Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Chic Hecht
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Nevada
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 2001
Served alongside: Harry Reid
Succeeded by
John Ensign