Born in Chicago, Jim was the first member of his family to attend college. He graduated from Wheaton College and then attended the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois. After completing medical school and an internship, Jim moved to Seattle to pursue his specialty in psychiatry at the University of Washington Medical Center.
When Jim finished his medical training, he joined the U.S. Navy and fulfilled his military obligation at the Long Beach Naval Station, where he treated soldiers and sailors returning from the Vietnam War.
In 1970, Jim moved back to Seattle to establish his medical practice and involve himself in the community. Shortly after returning, Jim recognized that he could do more to help improve the lives of others as an elected official, and, in 1970, he was elected to the Washington State Legislature. He continued to practice medicine on a part-time basis, and during his time in the Legislature, Jim became an influential member – first as a member of the State House of Representatives (1971-1972) and then as a State Senator (1975-1987).
After more than a decade in the State Senate, Jim decided to leave politics to serve as a U.S. Foreign Service Medical Officer in 1987. Stationed in Zaire, Jim was charged with providing psychiatric services to State Department employees, USAID staff, and Peace Corps personnel throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
In 1988, Jim returned home to run for the U.S. Congressional seat representing the Seattle area. He is now serving his twelfth term, representing the 7th Congressional District of Washington State, which includes Seattle and parts of several neighboring communities.
Jim is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee – Congress’ tax-writing panel (click here for more information about Jim’s committee assignment). During his time in Congress, Jim has worked hard to aid society’s most vulnerable populations – foster children, low-income individuals and families, unemployed Americans, and those confronting major illness or disability.
Throughout his congressional career, Jim has been a fierce advocate for the interests and issues of the greater Seattle region. Flying back to Seattle nearly every weekend of the year, Jim remains deeply involved in the community and maintains close connections with the people he represents.
Jim resides in the city of Seattle and has two grown children and three grandchildren. If he is not hosting or attending meetings and events in Seattle, there is a good chance Jim is reading, painting, gardening, or walking through Discovery Park.