Carson City, Nevada - January 15, 2021
Today, by executive order, Governor Steve Sisolak ordered the flags of the United States and the State of Nevada to be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol and State public buildings and grounds from sunrise until sunset on Saturday, January 16, 2020 as a mark of solemn respect and in remembrance of Joe Neal, a former long-time Nevada State Senator.
“Today, we will lower the flags and give our esteemed recognition to such a fearless long-time legislator that dedicated his life to the betterment of both his community and this State,” said Gov. Sisolak. “A champion for the African-American community, a warrior for social justice, and a tireless advocate for Nevada’s workers. True to his nature, Joe fought until the very end, battling illness for a long time. The First Lady and I once again extend our love and condolences to the Neal family – including his daughter, State Senator Dina Neal – and friends and we’ll keep them close to our hearts over the difficult days ahead.”
Neal, a United States Air Force Veteran, was the first African-American elected to the State Senate when he joined in 1973. He served in the Nevada State Senate until 2001, becoming the longest-serving state senator in Nevada History. During his service with the senate, he held various leadership roles including Assistant Minority Floor leader, Assistant Majority Floor leader, and President pro Tempore. Additionally, Neal was the first Black person to become a major party nominee in a Nevada gubernatorial race.
Neal was widely known as “the Westside Slugger” and as “the Conscience of the Legislature” for his dedication to Civil rights, his tenacity, and his impassioned speeches. Joe Neal is survived by his children, Charisse, Tania, Withania, Joseph, and his daughter State Senator Dina Neal.