Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 1996, 9th term.

Born: November 20, 1959, Worcester, MA

Home: Worcester, MA

Education: American U., B.A. 1981, M.P.A. 1984

Professional Career: Aide, U.S. Sen. George McGovern, 1977-80; Sr. aide, U.S. Rep. Joseph Moakley, 1982–96.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Roman Catholic

Family: Married (Lisa Murray) , 2 children

Jim McGovern, a liberal Democrat first elected in 1996, is not related to George McGovern, but once worked for the 1972 presidential nominee and called him “my inspiration, my mentor, my dearest friend” after the ex-senator’s death in 2012. Massachusetts’ McGovern is active on such international causes as human rights and ending hunger while urging President Barack Obama to embrace a more progressive agenda at home.

McGovern grew up in Worcester, where his parents owned a liquor store. He attended American University in Washington, and, while in graduate school, he worked in South Dakota Sen. McGovern’s office. He ran McGovern’s 1984 campaign in the Massachusetts presidential primary, where the senator finished third with 21% of the vote. He went to work as an aide to Boston-area Rep. Joe Moakley’s office and became chief of staff just as Moakley ascended to chairman of the Rules Committee. McGovern got into the spotlight himself, leading a 1989 investigation of the murders of six Jesuits and two lay women in El Salvador, which led to a cutoff of U.S. aid to the country.

In 1994, McGovern ran for the House and lost in the Democratic primary, 38%-30%. In 1996, he ran again, this time with no primary opposition. In the general election, two-term Republican Rep. Peter Blute stressed his independence from then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and attacked McGovern for liberal stands on abortion rights and Cuba. McGovern ran a humorous spot that asked, ‘‘If you wouldn’t vote for Newt, why would you ever vote for Blute?’’ At age 36, McGovern won, 53%-45%.

With deft maneuvers reflecting his Capitol Hill experience, McGovern positioned himself to become a power broker in the Democratic caucus. In 2001, the dying Moakley personally asked Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt to help McGovern get a seat on Rules, which schedules most legislation for the House floor. As it turned out, the next seat went to Florida’s Alcee Hastings, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, but McGovern got a commitment for the next available Democratic seat, with seniority over Hastings. He also has a senior job in the Democratic whip organization. And, it seems, McGovern is a good boss. A 2013 Washington Times study found that McGovern had the lowest turnover among staff of any member of Congress from 2001 to 2011.

On Rules, McGovern started with the advantage of already being versed in House procedures. With GOP lawmakers dominating the panel, he showed a sharp partisan edge as he embraced parliamentary maneuvers that led to cries of outrage from House Republicans. When Louise Slaughter of New York, now in her 80s, retires, McGovern is in position to assume the top Democratic spot on Rules. With his considerable leverage, he became a party leader on Iraq war policy, sponsoring an unsuccessful 2007 bill to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in six months. Later that year, he proposed a war surtax, but Democratic leaders rejected it. He subsequently turned his attention to Afghanistan, and in May 2011 nearly succeeded in getting the House to pass a resolution aimed at accelerating troop withdrawals.

McGovern was among those tied for most-liberal House member in National Journal’s 2012 vote ratings. He pushed for a government-run public option in the 2010 health care overhaul bill, but he backed it anyway when the public option was dropped under pressure from Democratic moderates. He is a member of the Cuba Working Group, which has called for easing sanctions against the Castro regime. He contends that the U.S. embargo has not achieved its goal of improving human rights in the island nation. Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, he has introduced bills aimed at diminishing the influence of money in politics.

McGovern was the House sponsor of a measure signed into law in 2012 that imposed a visa ban and asset freeze on suspected Russian human rights abusers. Russian President Vladimir Putin protested it was an intrusion into his country’s affairs and retaliated by halting U.S. adoptions of Russian children, prompting McGovern to call Putin a “bully.” McGovern has gotten to know actor George Clooney through Clooney’s work on human rights in the Sudan, and told The Sun-Chronicle of Attleboro in 2012: “Most celebrities are prima donnas. He’s the opposite.”

As the chairman of the Congressional Hunger Center, McGovern has pushed for more spending on international nutrition and for less support of biofuels, which he says have driven up food costs. He agreed to support a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill in late 2010 after getting assurances from the White House that it would try to restore $2.2 billion taken from future funding for food stamp programs. Two years later, he branded House Republican efforts to dramatically cut funding for food stamps “unconscionable” and “immoral.”

On issues affecting his district, McGovern led opposition to a proposed liquefied natural gas plant on the Taunton River. He also has been involved in efforts to eradicate the woodlands-killing Asian long-horned beetle, which has threatened New England’s maple syrup industry.

Although Republicans held this seat not long ago, they have all but given up on it. McGovern was unopposed in five of the past six elections, and he won easily with 57% in the anti-incumbent environment of 2010. Less than a week later, he was treated for thyroid cancer and given a promising prognosis.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6101

(202) 225-5759

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 438
Washington, DC 20515-2102

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-6101

(202) 225-5759

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 438
Washington, DC 20515-2102

DISTRICT OFFICE

(508) 831-7356

(508) 754-0982

12 East Worcester Street Suite 1
Worcester, MA 01604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(508) 831-7356

(508) 754-0982

12 East Worcester Street Suite 1
Worcester, MA 01604

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 341-8700

(413) 584-1216

94 Pleasant Street
Northampton, MA 01060

DISTRICT OFFICE

(413) 341-8700

(413) 584-1216

94 Pleasant Street
Northampton, MA 01060

DISTRICT OFFICE

(978) 466-3552

(978) 466-3973

24 Church Street Room 29
Leominster, MA 01453

DISTRICT OFFICE

(978) 466-3552

(978) 466-3973

24 Church Street Room 29
Leominster, MA 01453

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

393 Burncoat Street
Worcester, MA 01606

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

393 Burncoat Street
Worcester, MA 01606

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Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Acquisitions

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Agriculture

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Animal Rights

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Appropriations

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Russell Halliday
Legislative Correspondent

Arts

Russell Halliday
Legislative Correspondent

Banking

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Budget

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Campaign

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Commerce

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Communication

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Education

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Energy

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Family

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Finance

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Foreign

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Govt Ops

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Health

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Homeland Security

Russell Halliday
Legislative Correspondent

Housing

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Immigration

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Intelligence

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Intergovernmental

Gladys Rodriguez-Parker
Senior District Representative

Internet

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Labor

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Land Use

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Military

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Recreation

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Science

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Social Security

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Tax

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Technology

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Telecommunications

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Trade

Cindy Buhl
Legislative Director

cindy.buhl@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-6101

Transportation

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Urban Affairs

Caitlin Hodgkins
Rules Associate

Veterans

Mike Cusher
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Jennifer Chandler
Chief of Staff

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Jim McGovern
Unopposed
2012 PRIMARY
Jim McGovern
Votes: 24,375
Percent: 91.5%
William Feegbeh
Votes: 2,265
Percent: 8.5%
2010 GENERAL
Jim McGovern
Votes: 122,708
Percent: 56.46%
Martin Lamb
Votes: 85,124
Percent: 39.16%
2010 PRIMARY
Jim McGovern
Votes: 32,108
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Jim McGovern
Votes: 227,619
Percent: 98.49%
2008 PRIMARY
Jim McGovern
Votes: 37,041
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (56%), 2008 (98%), 2006 (100%), 2004 (71%), 2002 (100%), 2000 (100%), 1998 (57%), 1996 (53%)

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