After more than 30 years in public office, including 22 years as a Member of Congress, Jim is now serving his country in new ways throughout the private sector, academia, and advisory boards.
What is unchanged, however, is Jim’s lifelong dedication to public service. He has always worked to make government better in service of the American people by solving tough challenges to improve their lives. A bipartisan lawmaker and self-described policy-wonk, Jim has always been known for evaluating initiatives for their policy merits, not for political gain. He is a critical thinker, team player, and a fierce advocate for the American people, able to reach across the aisle to find consensus, even in the most polarizing of climates to get things done.
Injured at the age of 16 as a result of an accidental gun discharge while serving as a Police Explorer, he was left paralyzed. The tremendous outpouring of support from his community inspired Jim to enter public service and give back to those who had so ardently supported him. In his first election to Congress, he famously pledged to his constituents, “I’ll stand up for you.” That slogan still holds true today.
While in Congress, Jim was a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, where he served at the helm of the subcommittee focused on emerging threats and advanced capabilities since 2011, with a focus on AI, software, directed energy, electronic warfare, and hypersonics. As Congressman, he was a founding member of the House Committee on Homeland Security in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also a leading voice in cybersecurity policy and served on the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, and authored legislation to install a National Cyber Director at the White House. The first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, he was instrumental in the passage of the ADA Amendments Act. He was the first wheelchair user to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore and preside over the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a leading voice in the national disability community. He was instrumental in passing bipartisan legislation designed to overhaul long-standing public law to better align academic curricula across the country with the real world needs of the business community.