Cortez Masto takes Senate seat as first Latina, Nevada woman

January 3, 2017 GMT
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington after being elected to the U.S. Senate. Cortez Masto was sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, becoming Nevada's first female in the upper chamber of Congress and the nation's first Latina senator. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 14, 2016 file photo, Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington after being elected to the U.S. Senate. Cortez Masto was sworn in Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, becoming Nevada's first female in the upper chamber of Congress and the nation's first Latina senator. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Catherine Cortez Masto has been sworn in to the U.S. Senate, becoming Nevada’s first female in the upper chamber of Congress and the nation’s first Latina senator.

Spokesman Stewart Boss said Tuesday the Democratic former Nevada state attorney general was joined for the ceremony in Washington by her husband, Paul Masto, and other family members.

Cortez Masto defeated former Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck in November to replace Harry Reid, who retired after 34 years in Congress including 10 years as Democratic party leader.

In a statement, Cortez Masto says she intends to represent working families, fight discrimination, and focus on issues including immigration, women’s health and rights, education and retirement security.

She says she also wants to end the use of “secret unlimited money” in politics.