James Shannon

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James Shannon
James Shannon.jpg
Attorney General of Massachusetts
In office
January 1987 – January 1991
Preceded by Francis X. Bellotti
Succeeded by Scott Harshbarger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by Paul Tsongas
Succeeded by Chester G. Atkins
Personal details
Born James Michael Shannon
(1952-04-04) April 4, 1952 (age 62)
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University (B.A.)
The George Washington University Law School (J.D.)

James Michael Shannon (born April 4, 1952), also known as Jim Shannon, is a Democratic politician from Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, and later as the Massachusetts Attorney General.


Shannon was born in Methuen, Massachusetts and grew up in Lawrence. He graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, and received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He earned a law degree at The George Washington University Law School and practiced law in Lawrence.

In 1970 and 1971 Shannon was an intern in the office of Congressman F. Bradford Morse.[1] From 1973 to 1975 he served on the staff of Congressman Michael J. Harrington.[2] In 1976 he ran for the Massachusetts State Senate, losing the Democratic primary to incumbent William X. Wall by only eight votes.[3][4]

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, succeeding Paul E. Tsongas, who had been elected to the United States Senate. He was reelected in 1980 and 1982.

When Senator Tsongas announced his retirement in 1984, Shannon entered the race to succeed him. He was defeated in the Democratic primary by Lieutenant Governor John F. Kerry, who went on to win the seat. Shannon served out the rest of his term in the House, leaving office in January 1985.

In 1986, he was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts, serving from 1987 to 1991. He was defeated for re-election in 1990 by Scott Harshbarger in the Democratic primary. In 2000, Shannon was chosen as a delegate from Massachusetts to Democratic National Convention, pledged to Senator Bill Bradley. He was elected president and CEO of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in 2002.


  1. ^ Lowell Sun, Young Lawrence Attorney Seeks to Unseat Sen. Wall, March 9, 1976
  2. ^ Stuart E. Weisberg, Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, 2009, page 171
  3. ^ Lowell Sun, Files for Recount, September 22, 1976
  4. ^ Lowell Sun, Legendary Sen. Wall Wins Razor-Thin Victory, September 15, 1976

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Paul E. Tsongas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Chester G. Atkins
Legal offices
Preceded by
Francis X. Bellotti
Attorney General of Massachusetts
1987 – 1991
Succeeded by
Scott Harshbarger