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John L. Smith Hangs with Harry (Reid)

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(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

In this Dec. 8, 2016 file photo Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Nevada United States Senate powerhouse Harry Reid has been pretty quiet since retiring last year after three decades in office.

By anyone’s measure, the 78-year-old Reid and wife Landra have certainly earned a retirement outside the political spotlight.

But true to his reputation as a pugnacious former amateur boxer, Reid couldn’t resist weighing in on a few topics of interest to him at a gathering last Saturday at the Henderson home of JJ and Mary Anne Balk, who co-hosted a casual lunch in his honor with Ritchie and Renee Vincent.

State of Nevada contributor John L. Smith was on hand for the gathering.

“This is a very different Harry Reid than the fellow just a few months ago who frankly seemed like he’d ridden that horse in the Senate as far as he could. This is a different guy with a different energy level," Smith said.

He described him as being more animated and full of good stories. The people at the lunch weren't just friends from his years in politics but people the former Senate Majority Leader had gone to high school with and played with on the Basic High School baseball team.

Reid talked to Smith about his new think tank at UNLV, which it had been reported was not going to materialize. Smith said the venture with former House Speaker John Boehner is on a clear path.

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“It’s a policy institute. It’s going to discuss bipartisan cooperation and as you know although Reid called Boehner a friend they were rarely in the same camp. So, it should be entertaining if nothing else. If it doesn’t fix any economic or political issues, it should be interesting." he said.

Reid is selling his home in Washington, D.C. and seems "comfortable" with his decision to stay closer to his home in Henderson, Smith said.

The former senator is also donating hundreds of boxes of personal papers to the University of Nevada, Reno. The archive will be logged and organized so researchers can use it in the future.

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John L. Smith, contributor

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