Jewish congresswoman Jacky Rosen announces run for Nevada Senate seat
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Jewish congresswoman Jacky Rosen announces run for Nevada Senate seat

Jacky Rosen

Jacky Rosen speaking to campaign volunteers in the Nevada Democrats’ field office in Las Vegas, Oct. 18, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen, a freshman Democrat from Nevada, cited Jewish teachings in announcing that she will run for the Senate next year.

The Nevada Independent reported Thursday that Rosen, a software developer, was talked into running by former Sen. Harry Reid, who believes she is the likeliest challenger to unseat Dean Heller, a Republican.

Prior to her successful congressional run last year, Rosen’s only elective experience was as president of Ner Tamid, a Reform synagogue in suburban Las Vegas.

“He told me to think about it, and that’s what I did when I came home to talk to my husband,” said Rosen, 59, describing the conversation she had with Reid in May.

She cast her decision in terms of “tikkun olam,” a Talmudic principle meaning “repair the world” that has become a synonym for social justice among American Jewish liberals.

“I’ve said this so many times before, my faith tradition teaches me that we’re supposed to leave the world a better place than when we found it, and it’s important that if you have the opportunity to stand up and make a difference for things that matter to you and to the people that you love and care about or your community that I should do that,” she said.

Reid, who retired last year as the party leader in the Senate, remains a powerhouse in Nevada politics and still has a say in whom the party advances.

Nevada is considered one of the few likely Senate pickups for Democrats in 2018. Heller is the only Republican incumbent whose state voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election in November.