AP Photo/John Locher Photograph of Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford
AP Photo/John Locher

Ford won his 2018 race and established a set of policy priorities to frame his tenure: constitutional rights, criminal justice reform, consumer protection, client service, and community engagement.

Aaron Ford has been Nevada’s attorney general for almost four years, and his tenure in the office has produced myriad victories that benefit his constituents.

But … who is he?

Ford grew up in a working-class family where finances were lean and he had to help look after his two younger brothers. He had a natural aptitude for math, and he put this talent to work for the benefit of others by tutoring kids in his neighborhood. 

After his parents divorced, Ford stepped into the role of “the man of the house,” taking on family and household responsibilities while his mom worked nights. Ford’s family couldn’t afford to fulfill his wish of being in the Boy Scouts, but his mom signed her sons up for Upward Bound, a program for students who could be the first in their families to attend college. 

According to his mom, Ford took to the program, “put his head in his books,” and earned a half-tuition academic scholarship to Texas A&M University. He took Spanish all four years of high school and studied it in college, and he planned to spend a year studying abroad in Mexico.

But life has a way of upending best-laid plans, and just a couple of months before Ford was to begin his study abroad program, his first son, Avery, was born. Ford changed his plans and shifted his focus to raising his son. His relationship with the boy’s mother ended shortly after, and he took custody of the child.

Ford met Berna, his now-wife of more than 20 years and a devout Christian, about a year later. After marrying, the couple spent some time moving around the country as they pursued their education and career goals. Ford eventually added two master’s degrees, a law degree, and a PhD to his bachelor’s degree, teaching middle and high school math classes to pay for his own education and provide for his family. He also launched clubs aimed at enriching kids socially and culturally.

Ford and his wife settled permanently in Nevada in 2007, raising three sons and a nephew. Ford soon got his start in state politics as an organizer, and he first ran for office in 2010, losing a state Senate race that year but winning in his second bid for a Senate seat in 2012.

Ford proved to be a successful and popular state senator, rising quickly through the party ranks to become Senate Minority Leader in 2015–a position he used to help catapult Democrats into the Senate majority in 2016.

Two years later, this teacher, lawyer, husband, father, and legislator sought the Nevada attorney general’s office. He won his 2018 race and established a set of policy priorities to frame his tenure: constitutional rights, criminal justice reform, consumer protection, client service, and community engagement, and he carries on his work from his time in the legislature by pursuing the goals of women’s pay equality, affordable childcare, and affordable college. This year, Ford is seeking reelection for a second four-year term as Nevada’s attorney general.