Jim Clyburn

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Jim Clyburn
James Clyburn, official Congressional Majority Whip photo.jpg
Assistant House Democratic Leader
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Leader Nancy Pelosi
Whip Steny Hoyer
Preceded by Office created
House Majority Whip
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Leader Steny Hoyer
Preceded by Roy Blunt
Succeeded by Kevin McCarthy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Robin Tallon
Personal details
Born James Enos Clyburn
(1940-07-21) July 21, 1940 (age 73)
Sumter, South Carolina
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Emily Clyburn
Children Mignon Clyburn
Residence Columbia, South Carolina
Alma mater South Carolina State University
Profession Politician
Religion African Methodist Episcopal

James Enos "Jim" Clyburn (born July 21, 1940) is the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 6th congressional district, serving since 1993, and the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011.[1] He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes Florence, Sumter and large portions of Columbia and Charleston.

As Assistant Democratic Leader, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the House behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Early life and education[edit]

Clyburn was born in Sumter, South Carolina, the son of Enos Lloyd Clyburn, a fundamentalist minister, and his wife, Almeta (née Dizzley), a beautician.[2] A distant relative of his was George W. Murray, an organizer for the Colored Farmers Alliance (CFA), who was elected as a Republican South Carolina Congressman in the 53rd and 54th U.S. Congresses in the late nineteenth century. He and other black politicians had strongly opposed the 1895 state constitution, which essentially disfranchised most African-American citizens, a situation that the state maintained for more than half a century until passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.

Clyburn attended South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University), a historically black college in Orangeburg. He was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and graduated with a bachelor's degree in history.

For his first full-time position after college, Clyburn taught at C.A. Brown High School in Charleston.

Early political career[edit]

After an unsuccessful run for the South Carolina General Assembly, he moved to Columbia to join the staff of Governor John C. West in 1971. He was appointed as the first minority advisor to a South Carolina governor. In the aftermath of the Orangeburg massacre of 1974, when protesting students at South Carolina State were killed by police,[3] West appointed Clyburn as the state's human affairs commissioner. He served in this position until 1992, when he stepped down to run for Congress.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

Following the 1990 census South Carolina's district lines were redrawn. Due to prior racial discrimination before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Supreme Court required the 6th district, which had previously included the northeastern portion of the state, to be redrawn as a black-majority district. Before this ruling, African Americans were a minority in each South Carolinian district.

1992–2006

Five-term incumbent Robin Tallon's home was in the district, but he chose to retire. Five candidates, all of whom were African American, ran for the Democratic Party nomination for the seat. As this district was heavily Democratic, the primary was understood to be the real contest.

Clyburn secured 55% of the vote in the primary, eliminating the need for an expected run-off. As expected, he won the general election in November. He has been reelected eight times with no substantive Republican opposition. From 1998 to 2006, his opponent was Gary McLeod, a conservative Republican from Clarendon County.

2008

Clyburn defeated the Republican candidate Nancy Harrelson by 68%-32%.[4]

2010

Clyburn defeated the Republican candidate Jim Pratt, 65% to 34%.

2014

Clyburn will face the Rev. Leon Witt, a Baptist minister and retired small businessman in the 2014 election. Witt is the first black Republican to run in South Carolina's black-majority district since 2000.

Tenure[edit]

Jim Clyburn was elected as vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2003, the third-ranking post in the caucus.

He became the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House in early 2006 after the caucus chairman Bob Menendez was appointed to the Senate. After the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 election, Clyburn was unanimously elected as Majority Whip in the 110th Congress.

Clyburn would have faced a challenge from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel, but Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi persuaded Emanuel to run for Democratic Caucus Chairman.[5] Clyburn was interviewed by National Public Radio's Morning Edition on January 12, 2007, and acknowledged the difficulty of counting votes and rallying the fractious Democratic caucus, while his party held the majority in the House.

After the 2010 elections, the Democrats lost their majority in the House. The departing Speaker Nancy Pelosi ran for the Minority Leader position in order to remain the House party leader, while Clyburn announced that he would challenge Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House and the outgoing Majority Leader, for the Minority Whip post. Clyburn had the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, which wanted to keep an African-American in the House leadership, while Hoyer had 35 public endorsements, including three standing committee chairs. On November 13, Pelosi announced a deal whereby Hoyer would stand as Minority Whip, while a "number three" leadership position styled Assistant Leader would be created for Clyburn.[6] The exact responsibilities of Clyburn's assistant leader office remain unclear, though it is said to replace the Assistant to the Leader post previously held by Chris Van Hollen. He had attended all leadership meetings but was not in the leadership hierarchy.[7][8]

Ideology

Clyburn is regarded as liberal in his political stances, actions and votes. A recent ranking by the National Journal ranked him as the 77th most liberal of all 435 US congressional representatives, and with a score of 81, indicating that the conductors of this study found his voting record to be more liberal than 81 percent of other members of the US House of Representatives based on their recent voting records.[9]

Clyburn has an established liberal stance on health care, education, organized labor and environmental conservation issues, based on his legislative actions as well as evaluations and ratings by pertinent interest groups.[10]

Healthcare

In 2009, Clyburn introduced the Access for All Americans Act. The $26 billion sought by this Act would provide funding to quadruple the number of community health centers in the US that provide medical care to uninsured and low-income citizens.[11]

The American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, The Children’s Health Fund and other health care interest groups rate Clyburn highly based on his voting record on pertinent issues. Other groups in this field, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, give Clyburn ratings of zero.[12]

Despite his opposition to partial-birth abortion, Clyburn is regarded to be pro-choice on the issue of abortion, as shown by his high ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, and low rating from the National Right to Life Committee.[13]

Education

Clyburn has continuously sought new and additional funding for education. He has gained additional funding for special education[14] and lower interest rates on federal student loans.[15] In many sessions has Clyburn sought, sponsored and/or voted for improvements in Pell Grant funding for college loans.[16]

The National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals rate Clyburn very high, as do other education interest groups.[17]

Ports

Although he was criticized for a previous expenditure of 160 million dollars to expand South Carolina's ports, he stated he would continue to make funding available for further expansions. The plan is to deepen the ports to allow for larger commercial ships to arrive from the Panama Canal which is currently being expanded to allow for larger ships to pass through. This is due primarily because of larger commercial ships coming from China, and also China's extremely high demand of soy beans, which are produced in South Carolina, but must be sent to larger ports for exporting. This measure will benefit South Carolina business and farmers and is thus heavily backed by these groups.[18]

Labor

Clyburn has consistently voted for increases in minimum wage income and to restrict employer interference with labor union organization.[19]

Many national labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, the Communication Workers Association and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, give Clyburn outstanding ratings based on his voting record on issues that pertain to labor and employment.[20]

Environment

Clyburn has opposed legislation to increase offshore drilling for oil or natural gas. Instead, he has promoted use of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, cheaper than wind and solar energy. [21] Members of the nuclear power industry have expressed that there is a mutual respect between Clyburn and themselves.[22] Clyburn pushed for a 2010 contract to convert plutonium from old weapons into nuclear fuel.[22][23]

Clyburn has been viewed favorably by organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife.[24] However, he did anger environmentalists when he proposed building a $150 million bridge across a swampy area of Lake Marion in Calhoun county.

War in Iraq

On July 31, 2007, Clyburn said in a broadcast interview that it would be a "real big problem" for the Democratic Party if General David Petraeus issued a positive report in September, as it would split the Democratic caucus on whether to continue to fund the Iraq War. While this soundbite caused some controversy, the full quote was, in reference to 47 member Blue Dog caucus, "I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us."[25]

Bill Clinton comments

Clyburn negatively viewed Bill Clinton's remarks regarding Barack Obama winning the South Carolina primary. Clinton had compared Obama's victory to Rev. Jesse Jackson's win in the 1988 primary election.[26] "Black people are incensed all over this," said Clyburn. Clinton responded that the campaign "played the race card on me," denying any racial tone in the comment.[27] Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency. "When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar," Clyburn said. "I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation."[26]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Presidential endorsements[edit]

During the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, Clyburn supported Dick Gephardt until he dropped out of the race and afterwards supported John Kerry. He was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.[28]

Clyburn, a superdelegate, remained uncommitted throughout most of the 2008 presidential primary elections. He eventually endorsed Obama on June 3 immediately before the South Dakota primary (the result of said primary would have otherwise secured his party's nomination).[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

Clyburn's eldest daughter, Mignon Clyburn, was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Obama.[31]

References[edit]

[32]

  1. ^ A new era for SC: Clyburn, Scott get top House posts, James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers, November 17, 2010
  2. ^ "Chapter 12 | The parable of the talents – Crossing a Great Divide". TheState.com. May 17, 2007. Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ Saxon, Wolf (March 23, 2004). "John C. West, Crusading South Carolina Governor, Dies at 81". New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  4. ^ "South Carolina 2008 General Election Results". November 21, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ Babington, Charles; Weisman, Jonathan (November 10, 2006). "Reid, Pelosi Expected to Keep Tight Rein in Both Chambers". The Washington Post. 
  6. ^ Dana Bash (November 13, 2010 – Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)). "Deal ends Democratic leadership fight". CNN. 
  7. ^ Fahrenthold, David A. "Alexis Covey-Brandt". The Washington Post. 
  8. ^ Kane, Paul (November 8, 2010). "House Democrats could retain leadership team". The Washington Post. 
  9. ^ 2007 Vote Ratings[dead link]
  10. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn". Votesmart.org. May 14, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ Clyburn bill would extend healthcare[dead link]
  12. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Health Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Abortion Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  14. ^ Education Advocates Give Funding a Boost December 20, 2001[dead link]
  15. ^ The Daily WhipLine April 17, 2008[dead link]
  16. ^ The Daily WhipLine, July 18, 2007[dead link]
  17. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Education". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  18. ^ Gene Zaleski (8 August 2012). "Clyburn says ports worth the investment". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Jim Clyburn on Jobs". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Labor". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  21. ^ America’s Energy Future July 11, 2008[dead link]
  22. ^ a b Lipton, Eric (5 September 2010). "Congressional Charities Pulling In Corporate Cash". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  23. ^ "Shaw AREVA MOX Services Awarded Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Option for DOE Facility". Areva. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Environmental Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011. 
  25. ^ Balz, Dan; Cillizza, Chris (July 30, 2007). "Clyburn: Positive Report by Petraeus Could Split House Democrats on War". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2009. 
  26. ^ a b Black Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton’s Remarks New York Times April 24, 2008
  27. ^ Bill Clinton Irritated by Race-Card Questions New York Times April 24, 2008
  28. ^ "Final vote results for roll call 7". January 6, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2009. 
  29. ^ Steady Stream of superdelegates pushed Obama over top CNN June 3, 2008.
  30. ^ Wilgoren, Debbi (3 June 2008). "Clyburn Endorses Obama". The Washington Post. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  31. ^ Schatz, Amy (April 29, 2009). "Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  32. ^ Thomas, Rhondda R. & Ashton, Susanna, eds. (2014). The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. "James E. Clyburn (b. 1940)," p. 273-278.

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robin Tallon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th congressional district

1993–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Menendez
New Jersey
Democratic Caucus Chairman of the United States House of Representatives
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Rahm Emanuel
Illinois
Preceded by
Roy Blunt
Missouri
Majority Whip of the House of Representatives
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Kevin McCarthy
California
Preceded by
New creation
Assistant Democratic Party Leader of the United States House of Representatives
2011–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ken Calvert
R-California
United States Representatives by seniority
54th
Succeeded by
Anna Eshoo
D-California