Richard Bryan

For other people named Richard Bryan, see Richard Bryan (disambiguation).
Richard Bryan
United States Senator
from Nevada
In office
January 3, 1989  January 3, 2001
Preceded by Chic Hecht
Succeeded by John Ensign
Chairman of the Select Committee on Ethics
In office
January 3, 1993  January 3, 1995
Preceded by Terry Sanford
Succeeded by Mitch McConnell
25th Governor of Nevada
In office
January 3, 1983  January 3, 1989
Lieutenant Bob Cashell
Bob Miller
Preceded by Robert List
Succeeded by Bob Miller
27th Attorney General of Nevada
In office
January 1, 1979  January 3, 1983
Governor Robert List
Preceded by Robert List
Succeeded by Brian McKay
Member of the Nevada State Assembly
In office
Personal details
Born Richard Hudson Bryan
(1937-07-16) July 16, 1937
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bonnie Belinda Fairchild (1962-2016; her death)
Children Leslie, Blair, Richard Jr.
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Profession Attorney

Richard Hudson Bryan (born July 16, 1937) is an American attorney and politician. He served as the 25th Governor of the U.S. state of Nevada from 1983-89, and as a United States Senator from Nevada from 1989 to 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life

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.[1] He earned his law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law. In 1963 he was admitted to the Nevada Bar.

Political career


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. Bryan was the Governor of Nevada from 1983 to 1989.

U.S. Senate (1989–2001)

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.

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.[2][3]

NASA criticized Bryan for his opposition to its SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program, especially because Bryan ignored the meeting requests from NASA staff.[4]


  1. "Famous ATOs". Alpha Tau Omega. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  2. Alexander, Amir. "A History of SETI - Explore the Cosmos". The Planetary Society. The Planetary Society. 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."
  3. H. Paul Shuch, ed. (2011). Searching for extraterrestrial intelligence: SETI past, present, and future. Berlin: Springer. ISBN 978-3-642-13195-0.
  4. 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.
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
United States 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
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