James R. Langevin (born April 22, 1964) is the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Early life and education
Langevin was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended Bishop Hendricken High School, located in Warwick, Rhode Island, and then went on to study at Rhode Island College, from which he received an undergraduate degree, in addition to serving as President of Student Community Government, Inc., and he has a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.
Langevin has been unable to walk since 1980, when, at the age of 16, he was seriously injured in an accidental shooting. He had been working as a volunteer at the Warwick Police Department when a weapon accidentally discharged, leaving him a paraplegic.
Rhode Island government
Langevin's first experience in politics was when he was elected to the state's 1986 constitutional convention and was named its secretary.
Langevin, who uses a wheelchair, once ran on the slogan "I'll stand up for you", which he stated during a meeting in West Warwick.
Langevin was first elected a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly in 1988 and served as a state representative until 1994. He was elected Secretary of State of Rhode Island in November 1994, defeating Republican incumbent Barbara Leonard. While Secretary of State, he earned a reputation for weeding out corruption in state government.
U.S. House of Representatives
- Committee on Armed Services
- Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces
- Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
- Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities (Ranking Member)
- Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Congressional Arts Caucus
Langevin identifies as a pro-life Democrat. He has consistently voted against abortion during his five terms.
He has voted for the Abortion Pain Bill, which seeks “to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child,” as well as the amendment which prohibits federally funded abortion services in the Affordable Health Care for America Act. However, he strongly promotes contraceptive availability, and in a statement in 2007 said, “I have great respect for the passion displayed by Mr. Smith and Mr. Stupak and I share their opposition to abortion. However, in this instance I must strongly disagree with their decision to prevent the distribution of contraception to some of the most poor and needy people and nations in the world.” Because of his mixed stance on the issue, he has received fluctuating ratings from interest groups such as Planned Parenthood and the National Right to Life Committee.
Langevin believes that abortion should be legal when the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape or when the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, but does wish to decrease the number of abortions in the country and voted to prohibit federally funded abortion services.
His relatively complex stance on abortion contributes to somewhat contradictory interest group ratings because of his supporting of various bills: Representative Langevin’s stance on abortion supported the interests of the NARAL Pro-Choice America 0 percent in 2006 but in 2007, the same group gave Representative Langevin a grade of 100 and the National Right to Life Committee gave the Representative zero points, with points assigned for actions connected to a pro-life anti-abortion agenda.
On the issue of Health Care, Langevin has strongly demonstrated his support of reform. In May 2009, he introduced the American Health Benefits Program Act of 2009, which has the stated purpose of "amending the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to assure comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage for all Americans through an American Health Benefits Program. He has voted in favor of health care extensively during his time in office. In addition, he receives much of his campaign donations from health professionals. Langevin stated his goal for universal health care as “a system of portable and continuous coverage based on quality, affordability and choice that promotes investment in long-term prevention and drives down the cost of care over time.”
Langevin is considered strongly pro-labor.
He has received $130,000 in campaign contributions from pro-labor groups. During his time in office, he has supported labor interests in over 25 votes. Numerous labor interest groups have rated him extremely highly, including the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, and the Utility Workers Union of America. Interestingly, however, the Latin America Working Group and The Alliance for Worker Freedom have ranked Langevin very poorly.
He supports gun control, and co-sponsored a 2005 bill which would have reauthorized the 1994 assault weapons ban, which had expired in 2004.
Stem cell research
One of Langevin’s top priorities as a Member of Congress has been the expansion of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. His policy position is driven by his paralysis and the possibilities that stem cell research provide in helping this condition; he joined other members of the House in introducing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, expanding the limited funding put in place in 2001.
Langevin helped to found the House Cybersecurity Caucus, which he co-chairs. 60 Minutes speaking about the national security challenges the country will face this century in regards to protecting infrastructure and data. Langevin has said that he hopes to raise awareness of the need for security in that area and supports strict penalties for internet crimes as well as strong internet privacy laws.
The Representative has appeared on
"Cybersecurity contractors General Dynamics and Raytheon were Langevin's two top sources for campaign contributions" in the 2010 election.
Langevin was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2000, defeating perennial candidate Robert Tingle for a seat that was left open when Congressman Robert Weygand ran for the U.S. Senate. He took office in 2001, representing Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district. He has been re-elected with relative ease ever since, most recently defeating independent Rodney Driver in 2006 and Republican Mark Zaccaria in 2008 and 2010, all by overwhelming margins.
February 6th, 2012