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

Biography

Elected: 2000, 7th term.

Born: April 22, 1964, Providence, RI

Home: Warwick, RI

Education: RI Col., B.A. 1990, Harvard U., M.P.A. 1994

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Roman Catholic

Family: Single

Democrat Jim Langevin, elected in 2000, is the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress and has worked on behalf of others with similar physical challenges. But he also is extremely active on cybersecurity and other national security matters as a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

Langevin (LAN-jeh-vin) grew up in Warwick and as a boy hoped to become an FBI agent. But in 1980, at age 16, when he was a police cadet in the Boy Scout Explorer program, he was shot by a police officer when a gun accidentally discharged. The bullet went through his upper back and throat and damaged the upper part of his spinal column, making him a quadriplegic. After the accident, Langevin received $2.2 million in a settlement with the city of Warwick, and although he disliked the attention it brought him, he says he became determined to do something meaningful with his life. He worked as an intern in the state House and for Democratic Sen. Claiborne Pell. In 1988, while still a student at Rhode Island College, he was elected to the state House of Representatives, where he styled himself as a reformer. After finishing his undergraduate degree, he went on to get a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In 1994, Langevin was elected Rhode Island’s secretary of state.

When Democratic Rep. Bob Weygand ran for the Senate in 2000, Langevin ran for his seat in the U.S. House. In a four-way contest for the Democratic nomination, Langevin’s most strenuous opposition came from Kate Coyne-McCoy, the executive director of the Rhode Island Association of Social Workers, who made an issue of Langevin’s opposition to abortion rights. Although Langevin had support from many Democratic Party leaders and some unions, and won the party’s endorsement at the April convention, Coyne-McCoy waged an aggressive campaign financed by unions, health care workers, and EMILY’s List.

Langevin called her positions “unrealistic and extreme.” Coyne-McCoy said, “There’s no such thing as being too liberal.” He favored less stringent forms of gun control and said, “No one has to tell me how dangerous weapons can be.” He spoke often about the accident that paralyzed him. “Certainly, being disabled is part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me,” he said. Langevin won the primary. His chief opposition in the general election came from Rodney Driver, nominee of the Conscience for Congress Party and a retired mathematics professor who spent $300,000 of his retirement savings on his campaign. Langevin won easily, 62%-21%.

The House chamber in the U.S. Capitol was made wheelchair accessible for Langevin, with two of the fixed seats in the front removed to give him space to maneuver and to talk to colleagues. At his urging, then-Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to more far-reaching structural changes in 2009 to make all parts of the chamber, including the speaker’s rostrum, accessible. In July 2010, on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Langevin became the first person in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives. When an audit in 2012 revealed that sidewalks around all of the House offices were far out of ADA compliance, he pledged to address the issue.

Langevin has been liberal on economic issues and more centrist on cultural and foreign policy issues, an apt reflection of his district’s ethnic communities. In 2005, he was one of only three House Democrats from New England to join conservatives in the controversial case of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman at the center of a court battle over removing her life-sustaining feeding tube. But he was back in the liberal fold on the issue of embryonic stem cell research, opposed by anti-abortion groups. Langevin took the view that the research might alleviate suffering from certain diseases and injuries, and he drew heat from the Roman Catholic bishop of Providence for his position.

Langevin has sponsored several gun control bills, including one in January 2013 that increased inspections of firearms dealers’ sales records and stiffened penalties for dealers found to have been untruthful. He has called universal health care coverage his top priority. In 2008, he co-sponsored a plan for national health care coverage for all Americans that would resemble the one provided to federal employees, with an increase in the payroll tax financing the new program. Langevin was a staunch supporter of the Democrats’ health care initiative in 2009 and 2010, which sought to bring millions of uninsured households into the system. In 2006, Langevin won passage of a bipartisan bill that established a respite program for caregivers of individuals with special needs.

In the 111th Congress (2009-10), Langevin was the chief House sponsor of a bill that established cybersecurity offices in the White House and Homeland Security Department and gave the president emergency powers to act during a cybersecurity crisis. The bill passed in the House, but not in the Senate, and Langevin reintroduced it in March 2011. He later sought to amend the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill for the new office, but it failed on a largely party-line vote.

On the Armed Services Committee, where he chaired the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Langevin sponsored a measure in 2010 allowing the Pentagon to convert more jobs held by private contractors to full-time civilian positions. He also led efforts to boost spending for missile defense systems above the level requested by the Obama administration. He later became the ranking Democrat on the panel’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities Subcommittee. He worked with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2012 to prevent the administration’s proposed cut in the production of Virginia-class submarines in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Both state and national Democrats urged Langevin to consider challenging Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee in 2006, but abortion rights groups objected to his candidacy. Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, the former state attorney general, challenged Chafee and won. Langevin ran for reelection that year and again faced opposition from within the party for his abortion position. But he won the Democratic primary easily, and Republicans did not bother to field a general election candidate. In the gale-force Republican year of 2010, he still managed to get 60%. Two years later, to his annoyance, a Democratic-led redistricting advisory commission shifted some heavily Democratic areas out of his district while moving in GOP-leaning Burrillville, but he still won with 56%.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2735

(202) 225-5976

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 109
Washington, DC 20515-3902

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2735

(202) 225-5976

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 109
Washington, DC 20515-3902

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-2735

(202) 225-5976

300 Centerville Road Suite 200 South
Warwick, RI 02886

DISTRICT OFFICE

(401) 732-9400

(401) 737-2982

300 Centerville Road Suite 200 South
Warwick, RI 02886

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-2735

(202) 225-5976

1270 Ives Road
Warwick, RI 02886

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

1270 Ives Road
Warwick, RI 02886

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Agriculture

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Animal Rights

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Appropriations

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Arts

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Banking

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Census

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Commerce

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Congress

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Crime

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Disability

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Disaster

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Education

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Family

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Gun Issues

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Health

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Homeland Security

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Housing

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Insurance

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Intergovernmental

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Internet

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Judiciary

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Labor

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Military

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

National Security

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Native Americans

Kristin Nicholson
Chief of Staff

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Privacy

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Public Works

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Recreation

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Regulation

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Rules

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Science

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Seniors

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Small Business

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Tax

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Nick Leiserson
Legislative Assistant; Systems Administrator

Trade

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Peter La Fountain
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Kathryn Mitchell
Legislative Assistant

Welfare

Samuel Morgante
Legislative Assistant

Women

Todd Adams
Legislative Director

todd.adams@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-2735

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Jim Langevin
Votes: 105,318
Percent: 62.32%
Rhue Reis
Votes: 63,677
Percent: 37.68%
2012 GENERAL
Jim Langevin
Votes: 124,067
Percent: 55.77%
Michael Riley
Votes: 78,189
Percent: 35.15%
Abel Collins
Votes: 20,212
Percent: 9.09%
2012 PRIMARY
Jim Langevin
Votes: 22,161
Percent: 74.09%
John Matson
Votes: 7,748
Percent: 25.91%
2010 GENERAL
Jim Langevin
Votes: 104,442
Percent: 59.87%
Mark Zaccaria
Votes: 55,409
Percent: 31.76%
John Matson
Votes: 14,584
Percent: 8.36%
2010 PRIMARY
Jim Langevin
Votes: 25,603
Percent: 57.43%
Elizabeth Dennigan
Votes: 15,146
Percent: 33.97%
Ernest Greco
Votes: 3,833
Percent: 8.6%
2008 GENERAL
Jim Langevin
Votes: 158,416
Percent: 70.12%
Mark Zaccaria
Votes: 67,433
Percent: 29.85%
2008 PRIMARY
Jim Langevin
Votes: 20,007
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (60%), 2008 (70%), 2006 (73%), 2004 (75%), 2002 (76%), 2000 (62%)

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