ENG: James Patrick "Jim" McGovern (born November 20, 1959) is the U.S. Representative for Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, McGovern attended Worcester Academy. While in college he worked as a congressional aide to Senator George McGovern (to whom he is not related), a two-time presidential candidate he campaigned for. From 1981 to 1996 he was a senior staff member for Representative Joe Moakley. McGovern first ran for Congress in 1994, where he lost in the Democratic primary.
He ran again in 1996, defeating Republican incumbent Peter Blute. He has since been re-elected six times, four of which he was unopposed.
A focus of his career has been international human rights, which he has advocated for in countries such as El Salvador, Sudan, and Colombia. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and has been ranked as one of the most liberal members of Congress.
James Patrick McGovern was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on November 20, 1959. He grew up in Worcester, where his mother Mindy was a dance instructor and his father Walter owned a liquor store. In junior high school, he first became involved in politics by campaigning for Democratic U.S.
Senator George McGovern (to whom he is not related) in his unsuccessful 1972 presidential bid. After graduating from Worcester Academy he moved to Washington, D.C., where from 1977 to 1980, he worked as an aide to George McGovern. He attended American University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1981 and a Masters of Public Administration in 1984. When George McGovern ran for president again in 1984, Jim McGovern was the state coordinator of his Massachusetts campaign branch, and he made his nominating speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
In 1981 McGovern joined the Capitol Hill staff of Joe Moakley, a Democratic U.S. Representative from Massachusetts.
He was appointed by Moakley in 1990 to lead a House task force investigating the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests and two women in El Salvador by the Salvadoran Army. He later advocated cutting off U.S. funding for the U.S. Army School of the Americas, where several of the military members had been trained.
Congressional record - Electoral history
McGovern first ran for Congress in 1994, running in a crowded Democratic primary to represent Massachusetts's 3rd congressional district. The district, located in central and southeastern Massachusetts, includes the city of Worcester and parts of Bristol, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester counties.
During the campaign McGovern asserted that his record as "a Washington insider" would make him a more effective representative. Despite endorsements from George McGovern, Joe Moakley, and presidential aide George Stephanopoulos, McGovern lost in the primary to Massachusetts State Representative Kevin O'Sullivan.
McGovern left Moakley's office in 1996 and moved back to Worcester, again running for Congress. Unopposed in the Democratic primary, he ran against Republican incumbent Peter Blute in the general election. His campaign slogan focused on unseating House Speaker Newt Gingrich: "To dump Newt you have to dump Blute." Blute was endorsed by The Boston Globe and five other local papers, but McGovern won the election with 53 percent of the vote. He has never faced another contest nearly that close, and has been re-elected seven times.
He ran unopposed in 2000 and 2002.
The National Journal reported that McGovern has been able to use his Capitol Hill experience to help position himself as "a power broker in the Democratic caucus." In 2001, the dying Moakley asked Dick Gephardt to help McGovern attain a seat on Rules, which schedules much of the legislation for the House floor. He didn't receive that next seat, but was given a commitment for the next available Democratic seat. While on Rules, McGovern was able to use his experience with House procedures to his advantage. With Republicans comprising the majority of the panel, he "showed a sharp partisan edge as he embraced parliamentary maneuvers that led to cries of outrage" from House GOP members. McGovern is currently in position to take over the top Democratic position on Rules when Louise Slaughter retires.
In 2004, he was opposed by Republican Ronald A. Crews, an evangelical pastor, former Georgia state legislator, and president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. Crews, a national conservative activist, challenged McGovern's positions on same-sex marriage and abortion. McGovern derided his opponent's focus on social issues, saying, "When Ron Crews gets up in the morning, the first thing he thinks about is gay marriage. … I don't think that is the most important issue for most families. Jobs, health care, education, how to make the world a more peaceful place, those are the issues people care about." McGovern defeated Crews with 71 percent of the vote, and ran unopposed in 2006 and 2008.
In the 2010, he faced Republican Marty Lamb, a real estate lawyer, and independent Patrick J. Barron, a Department of Mental Health administrator. He was re-elected with 57 percent of the vote.
McGovern has aligned himself with liberal and progressive causes. "It's no secret that I'm a liberal," he said in 2010. "I didn't poll any of this stuff, but I am who I am." Political interest groups generally rank McGovern as one of the most liberal members of Congress. The National Journal ranked him among the seven most liberal representatives. The Washington Post noted that the political similarities between McGovern and his mentor, 1972 Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern, are numerous: "Both are considered among the most liberal and anti-war lawmakers of their generation. The most prominent difference? They aren't related.”
From 1997 to 2007, the liberal advocacy group Americans for Democratic Action gave him an average vote rating of 98.5 percent, whereas its conservative counterpart, the American Conservative Union, gave him an average vote rating of 2.5 percent. The United States Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for business-oriented policies, has given McGovern a 33 percent lifetime rating as of 2011.
Family and personal life
McGovern lives in Worcester with his wife, Lisa Murray McGovern, a former aide to U.S. Representative Gerry Studds. They have two children, Patrick and Molly. He has two sisters, who are teachers in the Worcester public school system. In November 2010 he underwent surgery to remove his thyroid gland after being diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, from which he is expected to recover.
February 12, 2013