First female Majority Floor Leader of the state Assembly
Date of Birth: Nov. 23, 1960
Place of Birth: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Arrival in Las Vegas: 1980
Work/Contribution: Politics, Law Owner
Date of Interview: Spring 2011
Barbara Buckley currently serves as the executive director of Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She also served in the Nevada State Assembly where she was the first female Majority Floor Leader.
Buckley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She moved to Las Vegas in the early 1980s and found work as a maid and waitress in hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. She attended UNLV where she earned her bachelor’s degree with honors. She then graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona law school.
In 1989, Buckley became a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She ran for statewide office in 1994 and voters elected her to the first of nine sessions in the Nevada Assembly. There she worked to protect the rights of renters and homeowners, advocated for women and children, and reformed the education system in Nevada by helping to implement full-day kindergarten. She was elected Majority Floor Leader by her fellow Democrats in the 2001, 2003, and 2005 sessions. In 2007, she was elected to be Speaker of the Assembly, the first woman to hold that role.
She has continued to work at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and since 1996 has been the executive director. She has received many awards from the community including Democrat of the Year (2003), Assemblywoman of the Year (2007) UNLV Alumni of the Year (2007), and Legislator of the Decade. In her work at the Legal Aid Center, she developed partnerships with UNLV Boyd School of Law to train first year law students how to teach legal classes to the public, as well as a Domestic Violence Project and a Children’s Attorneys Project.