Alice Costandina “Dina” Titus (D-Nev.) is running for Congress in Nevada’s 1st District. The Greek-American politician, who previously served in the 111th Congress, said she is excited to be a part of the Greek group of members of Congress.
“I’m excited about running again,” she said. “I’m running in a newly drawn district, which is much more Democratic. I have a real good chance — I want to go back. There are still problems in Nevada that I want to work on.”
Titus grew up in South Georgia, and always had a close relationship with her Greek immigrant grandfather Arthur Costandinos Cathones, who came to America in 1911 through Ellis Island. She learned her Greek letters and numbers from her papou, as well as the brilliance of Greek cuisine.
Her bio says: “Dina’s Greek heritage has always been close to her heart and an important part of her life, even though she did not have the privilege of growing up in a large Greek community. Growing up in a small town in Georgia where her grandfather operated restaurants, the family would have to drive to the nearest city – sometimes over a hundred miles – to find feta cheese and Kalamata olives.”
Later in her life, as an adult, Titus had the chance to get in touch with her Greek heritage — she first visited Greece in 1980, and went to see relatives in Athens and Trikala. She has since returned a half dozen times, and said she loves it.
Initially, Titus taught American and Nevada government at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas — she was a professor of political science for 30 years before starting her political career. She came from a political family, as well – her father was in local politics, and her papou had a restaurant right across from the courthouse, so there were always politicians lunching there, Titus said.
“When I was in Congress, certainly Congressman John Sarbanes really helped me because I went to him to learn more about Greek issues,” Titus said. “He was very kind and supportive, and a great mentor on these issues.”
The congresswoman is proud to be Greek, and she has spoken out in favor of Hellenism both in the classroom and in the Nevada legislature. She sponsored resolutions honoring the consecration of the new Greek church in Las Vegas and recognizing that Macedonia is Greek — she knows these issues are important to the Greek community, and as she is personally invested in the issue, her views align with her constituents’. Titus will vote to protect the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul, to reunify Cyprus, and maintain the Greek sanctity of the name and symbols of Macedonia — she truly believes in and fights for Greek issues.
I think that [Greeks have a lot of influence in America], especially because in some of the states where Greeks are concentrated, if it’s a very close election, the Greek population could tip it one way or the other,” Titus said. “That’s especially true in Nevada — we have a history of being won by a couple hundred votes. It’s a big swing state, and the Greek population could have a great affect if it were unified here…I don’t think Greeks are as united politically except on Greek issues; but I think that’s starting to change, Greeks getting more energized on political issues.”
An average day for Titus is full of civic and political activities in her district, because she is simply trying to get out there and show the people who she is. She said she really wants to show the people just how much she cares.
“In my years in politics, I have tried to build a reputation based on hard work, integrity — my integrity has never been challenged — and commitment to things I think are right,” Titus said.