Photo By Dennis Myers

One of Nevada’s more impressive résumés is that held by Frankie Sue Del Papa. She spent six years as a Nevada regent, four as secretary of state, and 12 as attorney general. In the last two posts, she was the first woman ever elected in Nevada. Since bowing out of public life in 2003, she has practiced a minimal amount of the kind of high level law that lets her travel a lot and resisted pleas that she return to the political stage.

How do you like being out of the public eye?

I miss sometimes the ability to make a difference on a large scale, but I really enjoy what I’m doing, and I enjoy my life. So, you know, I’m pretty happy. I miss sometimes the people I used to work with, but that was then, and this is now.

What are you doing?

I’m practicing law, and my clients are national in scope, and so I do a lot of travel for both work and for pleasure. And I’m very active with organ donations in our state and a number of other civic causes, and so I’m pretty busy.

What kind of law do you practice?

It’s varied. I work with a securities firm in San Francisco, and I work with a major corporate entity that’s multinational, and I also do work with a class action administration firm out of Portland. We don’t do the class actions, we just do the noticing, the cutting of the checks, and so it’s a small—well, it’s actually pretty large—class action firm.

Do you ever get approached to get back into politics?

All the time, for this office or that office. But if I never have to ask one more person for a dollar, it’ll be a good thing.

Looking back, which of the offices you held did you like the most?

Probably attorney general, I’d say without a doubt, in the sense that it was the most substantive. All of the offices, I think, were important and interesting and made you feel like you were making a difference. But the most substantial and the one with the most responsibility was attorney general.

We’re taping this at the university library. As you walk around the campus, do you see bits of your legacy?

Oh, absolutely. I love this campus, and I love walking around it, particularly the old part, you know, where all the memories are. Because when you walk the old part of the campus, and you remember something happening on the library steps or introducing a speaker in the old gym or the quad. [Del Papa graduated from UNR and served as student body president.] I love walking the quad. I can still hear us all or see us all on graduation days or various functions at the quad. I love the campus. I really love it. It’s a part of me, and I’m a part of it.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...