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Democrat

Rep. Jim McDermott (D)

Jim McDermott Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-3106

Address: 1035 LHOB, DC 20515

State Office Contact Information

Phone: (206) 553-7170

Address: 1809 Seventh Avenue, Seattle WA 98101-1399

Jim McDermott Staff
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Sort by INTEREST NAME TITLE
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Hovsepian, Haig
Staff Assistant; Legislative Aide
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Lane, Keanan
Health Policy Fellow
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Hovsepian, Haig
Staff Assistant; Legislative Aide
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Lane, Keanan
Health Policy Fellow
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Beach, Tera
District Director
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Hovsepian, Haig
Staff Assistant; Legislative Aide
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lane, Keanan
Health Policy Fellow
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Loud, David
Community Liaison
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Rubin, Daniel
Communications Director
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Stewart, Rita
Community Liaison; District Office Scheduler
Watts, Lona
Office Manager; Scheduler
Hovsepian, Haig
Staff Assistant; Legislative Aide
Shust, Diane
Chief of Staff
Rubin, Daniel
Communications Director
Foster, Daniel
Health Counsel
Beach, Tera
District Director
Lane, Keanan
Health Policy Fellow
Gleeson, Michael
Tax Legislative Assistant
Gosnell, Jacqueline
Legislative Assistant
Hughes, Laura
Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Lemons, Jason
Legislative Correspondent; Legislative Assistant
Loud, David
Community Liaison
Stewart, Rita
Community Liaison; District Office Scheduler
Watts, Lona
Office Manager; Scheduler
Mills, Pete
Community Outreach
Stewart, Rita
Community Liaison; District Office Scheduler
Watts, Lona
Office Manager; Scheduler
Hovsepian, Haig
Staff Assistant; Legislative Aide
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Jim McDermott Committees
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Ways & Means
Jim McDermott Biography
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  • Elected: 1988, 13th term.
  • District: Washington 7
  • Born: Dec. 28, 1936, Chicago, IL
  • Home: Seattle
  • Education:

    Wheaton Col., B.S. 1958, U. of IL, M.D. 1963

  • Professional Career:

    Asst. prof., U. of WA, Practicing psychiatrist, 1970–83; Medical officer, U.S. Foreign Svc., Zaire, 1987–88.

  • Military Career:

    U.S. Navy Medical Corps, 1968–70.

  • Political Career:

    WA House, 1970–72; WA Senate, 1974–87.

  • Ethnicity: White/Caucasian
  • Religion:

    Episcopalian

  • Family: Divorced; 2 children

Democrat Jim McDermott, first elected in 1988, has long been one of Congress’ most liberal members, and he is a persistent attack dog against Republican policies that he complains, often caustically, are unfair to the middle class. Read More

Democrat Jim McDermott, first elected in 1988, has long been one of Congress’ most liberal members, and he is a persistent attack dog against Republican policies that he complains, often caustically, are unfair to the middle class.

McDermott grew up in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, one of three boys, and was the first in his family to attend college. His father, a fundamentalist Christian, ministered in a church run out of the garage. McDermott graduated from conservative Christian Wheaton College, the alma mater of the Rev. Billy Graham. He went on to get a medical degree from the University of Illinois and did the last two years of his psychiatric residency at the University of Washington. He fell in love with the area and decided to make it his home. But first, with the Vietnam War under way, McDermott volunteered for a stint in the Navy as a psychiatrist. The experience left him adamantly opposed to the war, and when he returned to Seattle, he got involved in politics. In 1970, while he was operating his medical practice, he was elected to the state House, and in 1974, he was elected to the state Senate. He ran for governor three times and lost every time. In 1987, he retired from the legislature and went to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) as a medical officer in the Foreign Service. When the House seat opened in 1988, he returned to Seattle and won easily, beating Norm Rice 38%-29% in the primary and taking 76% in the general. He is the only psychiatrist in the House.

McDermott is upfront about his legislative interests, which tend not to include the parochial matters that consume some of his congressional colleagues. He has promoted health issues overseas; he founded and chaired the Congressional Task Force on International HIV/AIDS. He also sponsored a measure that at first seemed quixotic but was enacted in 2000: The African Growth and Opportunity Act, which reduced import quotas and tariffs on African goods and included investment funds. More recently, he has introduced bills requiring the Internal Revenue Service to provide to taxpayers a detailed breakdown of how their money is spent.

McDermott is equally upfront in voicing his displeasure with the GOP. During debate over the fiscal 2014 budget, he mocked the Republicans’ oft-stated talking point that no family would run its household finances like the federal government. “I don’t know any family in America that would use their children’s lunch money to pay down their credit cards,” he said on the House floor. In April 2011, he said on the floor, “The difference between a Boy Scout troop and this House of Representatives is that the Boy Scout troop has adult leadership.” He issued a video calling the tea party “the most nonsensical display of people not thinking” that he had seen in decades.

In his early years in the House, McDermott rose quickly in influence. Democratic Leader Tom Foley of Washington state tapped him for influential assignments. His great cause has been health care, but he has shared the frustration many have felt in dealing with the issue. He has long backed a single-payer, Canadian-style national health insurance program. During the health care debate in 2009 and 2010, he pushed for a government-run “public option” to compete with private insurers. He became ranking Democrat in 2013 on the Ways and Means Committee’s health panel, giving him an added platform for his rejoinders to GOP criticisms of the health care law. He predicted in 2012 that Republicans seeking to repeal the law likely would take advantage of it to keep their children on their insurance policies until they turn 26, something he called “the height of hypocrisy.”

McDermott was harshly critical of the Bush administration on a number of fronts, especially the war in Iraq. In September 2002, with a congressional delegation in Baghdad, McDermott said in a statement broadcast on ABC’s This Week that Bush was willing to “mislead the American people,” and that he found Iraqi Leader Saddam Hussein to be more credible than Bush. But his antiwar sentiments are also bipartisan: He has also castigated the Obama administration for its Middle East policies.

A longtime ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, McDermott in the opening days of the 110th Congress (2007-08) helped shape the House-passed bill to rescind some tax breaks for oil companies. As a senior member of Ways and Means, he was the lead sponsor of bills between 2008 and 2010 that extended unemployment benefits for American workers. He also shepherded to enactment legislation aimed at improving foster care programs through initiatives such as allowing children to remain in foster care until age 21.

McDermott stirred controversy in 2004 when he omitted the words “under God” as he led the House in its daily Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. After leaders of both parties criticized him, he replied that his omission had not been deliberate. In 2007, he was attacked by conservatives for voting against a House resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas. He drew more headlines in December 2012 after a visit to Bali to attend a democracy forum and promote exports of Washington’s produce. His estimated expenses of $21,000 were covered by Chemonics International, a Washington, D.C., company that contracts with the government on global development projects.

McDermott was also bogged down in a years-long partisan battle with House Republicans stemming from an incident when he was ranking minority member on the Ethics Committee during its consideration in 1997 of charges against Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich. Two Democratic activists in Florida happened to tape from a police scanner a cell phone conversation between Ohio Republican John Boehner and other GOP leaders. They gave the tape to McDermott. A few days later, excerpts from it appeared in newspapers. Boehner sued McDermott in federal court for invasion of privacy, and the case lingered in the courts for years.

McDermott approached Boehner in 2002—they had not spoken in the 12 years they served together—and sought to settle the case. He agreed to one of Boehner’s demands, that he apologize to the House. But he would not agree to the other two: admit that he was wrong and make a contribution to charity. In 2004, the judge found McDermott guilty of violating the federal wiretapping law and ordered him to pay $60,000 in damages and $500,000 in attorneys’ fees. McDermott appealed the ruling. But the court case took yet another turn against him in 2007, when the divided D.C. Circuit Court concluded that House rules on confidentiality barred him from disclosing the contents of the tape. The judges ordered payment of the damages to Boehner. McDermott claimed the ruling infringed on his free speech rights and took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear it. In April 2008, a federal judge ordered McDermott to pay Boehner over $1.2 million in legal fees.

His outspokenness has not hurt McDermott in Seattle, where he regularly wins reelection with more than 70% of the vote. He considered running against Republican Sen. Slade Gorton in 2000, but backed away soon after he underwent open heart surgery, saying he didn’t want to raise the $8 million that would be required. Two months after his 2010 reelection, a Palm Springs, Calif., man was arrested for phone calls in which he allegedly threatened to kill McDermott as well as his friends and family. During his 2012 race, he had to deal with headlines about a messy divorce from his second wife.

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Jim McDermott Election Results
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2012 General (Top-Two General)
Jim McDermott (D)
Votes: 298,368
Percent: 79.65%
Ron Bemis (R)
Votes: 76,212
Percent: 20.35%
2012 Primary (Top-Two Primary)
Jim McDermott (D)
Votes: 124,692
Percent: 70.91%
Ron Bemis (R)
Votes: 26,791
Percent: 15.24%
Andrew Hughes (D)
Votes: 10,340
Percent: 5.88%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (83%), 2008 (84%), 2006 (79%), 2004 (81%), 2002 (74%), 2000 (73%), 1998 (88%), 1996 (81%), 1994 (75%), 1992 (78%), 1990 (72%), 1988 (76%)
Jim McDermott Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 91 (L) : - (C) 86 (L) : 14 (C) 88 (L) : 11 (C)
Social 85 (L) : 13 (C) 81 (L) : 15 (C) 80 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 94 (L) : - (C) 92 (L) : 8 (C) 78 (L) : 18 (C)
Composite 92.8 (L) : 7.2 (C) 87.0 (L) : 13.0 (C) 86.2 (L) : 13.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC100
LCV9497
CFG2020
ITIC-58
NTU1517
20112012
COC25-
ACLU-100
ACU40
ADA9595
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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