• Press Release

Nevada State Assemblywoman Shea Backus Nominated for EMILYs List’s Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

March 28, 2023


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Nevada state Assemblywoman Shea Backus is a nominee for the 10th annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award. EMILYs List President Laphonza Butler released the following statement:  

“Shea Backus has been a groundbreaking champion for her community and for all Nevadans for her entire career. Even before becoming a legislator, Backus was fighting for vulnerable children as an attorney, and since being elected she has been an advocate for improving education, supporting Nevada’s tribal and urban Native Americans, and ensuring access to reproductive health care. Backus has shown that she will work tirelessly for Nevadans, and EMILYs List is proud to nominate her for this prestigious award.”

Assemblywoman Shea Backus, a citizen of Cherokee Nation and third-generation Nevadan, created the pathway to the first women majority legislature when she was elected to the Nevada Assembly in 2018. She is also the first Native American woman to serve in the Nevada state legislature. Backus graduated from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and has two decades of experience as a practicing attorney, including appearances in tribal courts. Backus is currently serving her second term and continues to fight for abortion rights. Backus was first endorsed by EMILYs List in 2018.

Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, former Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015; former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016; former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017; Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018; California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019; former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020; Harris County, Texas Judge Lina Hidalgo in 2021; and former Georgia Rep. Bee Nguyen in 2022. 

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input. Online voting can be found here

Shea Backus is nominated alongside:

Sabrina Cervantes, California State Representative
Joanna McClinton, Pennsylvania Speaker of the House
Danica Roem, Virginia State Delegate
Fentrice Driskell, Florida State Representative
Michelle Au, Georgia State Representative

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, works to elect Democratic pro-choice women up and down the ballot and across the country with a goal of fighting for our rights and our communities. Our work is centered around a fundamental vision: Run. Win. Change the World. EMILYs List has raised $850 million in service to that vision and has helped Democratic women win competitive elections by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running one of the largest independent expenditure operations for Democrats, and turning out women voters to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country’s first woman as vice president, 175 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 20 governors, and over 1,500 women to state and local office. More than 40% of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. Visit www.emilyslist.org for more information.