Jim Graham

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For other people named James Graham, see James Graham (disambiguation).
Like former Mayor Anthony A. Williams, Graham is known for his bow ties.

Jim Graham (born August 26, 1945)[1] is a Scottish-born American politician and a member of the Council of the District of Columbia. He is a Democrat representing Ward 1 in Washington, D.C.

Graham was first elected in 1998 and won reelection in 2002, 2006, and 2010 but was defeated in his bid for a fifth term in the Democratic primary election on April 1, 2014 by a margin of 41 percent to 59 percent for challenger Brianne Nadeau.[2]

He is the second openly gay elected official in D.C., after David Catania. He is an immigrant from Wishaw, Scotland, having become a naturalized as an American.[3][4] and currently resides in Adams Morgan.[5]

Graham has served as chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's board of directors twice—once in 2003 and again in 2009. Most recently he was replaced in 2010 by Peter Benjamin, one of the board members representing Maryland.

In 1999 and 2007, Graham donated a large collection of his personal and professional papers to the George Washington University. The collection is currently under the care of GWU's Special Collections Research Center, located in the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Graham's parents, neither of whom had high school degrees, settled in Hyattsville, Maryland after immigrating to the United States from Scotland.[7] A graduate of Michigan State University where he was a student politician and vice president of the National Student Association, Graham received a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and a L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. He was a clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren and held a staff attorney position with the U.S. Senate Governmental Affairs Committee (chaired by Senator Abe Ribicoff, D-Connecticut). He is experienced in private, agency and public interest law. Graham has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University, as well as supervising instructor at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Graham is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia and before the U.S. Supreme Court.[8] Prior to taking a seat on the city council, Graham was executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, a non-profit organization that provides services to AIDS and HIV patients in Washington. He is a recovering alcoholic and "came out" as gay after leaving federal employment.

Gay community pioneer[edit]

In October 1979, Graham joined Whitman-Walker Clinic’s board. He helped the clinic survive its initial funding crises and in April 1981 became president of the board. Within three years, he became the executive director, leading the clinic’s response to AIDS for 15 years (1984–1999). Under his leadership the clinic became a leading HIV/AIDS institution, with more than 1,200 volunteers, 270 full-time employees, and satellite operations in Southeast Washington, Maryland and Virginia. When Graham left Whitman-Walker in January 1999, it had become one of the most comprehensive community based medical organizations responding to HIV/AIDS in the country.

In 1984, dismayed by the quality of legal support, Graham himself undertook the legal aid counseling of those with AIDS for 18 months: "I went to dying people to straighten out their legal affairs ... in addition to other duties. It carried me right into the trenches; it created the whole experience. I vividly remember going to the bedsides, the horrible circumstances. ... It was extremely emotional."[9] In an oral history for the Rainbow History Project, Graham commented, "We’ve had one of the greatest epidemics of all time and this was the history, the history of the community banding together and helping itself. It was a phenomenal story."[9] He says of the time: "It was the most difficult period that I’ve ever been through, there’s no question."[this quote needs a citation]

Current DC Council Committees[edit]

Graham is a member of the following committees in the D.C. Council:

  • Committee on Human Services (Chair)
  • Committee of the Whole
  • Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
  • Committee on Transportation and the Environment
  • Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs

Organizations[edit]

  • D.C. AIDS Task Force (member since 1983)
  • AIDS Action Council (previous Board member)
  • National Lesbian and Gay Health Foundation (previous Board member)
  • Coalition for Consumers Health and Safety
  • Washington AIDS Partnership (previous Advisory Committee member)
  • Concerned Citizens on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Inc. (previous Advisory Board member)
  • National AIDS Network (previous Treasurer and Board member)[6]

Criticism[edit]

In early 2005, Graham was accused (allegedly by Washington businessman Sinclair Skinner) of driving historically African-American businesses from the neighborhoods of Columbia Heights, Shaw, and the U Street corridor. The Washington City Paper reported on the accusation:

In early 2005, just as the Club U issue was heating up, posters portraying Graham as a reptile holding a pitchfork labeled "Grahamzilla" appeared on light poles and street signs around the ward. Another set of posters depicted Graham standing on a porch partying with young white men at the Graham "plantation." The latter included an illustration showing "Graham opponents" hanging from a gallows. The posters stretched the limits of political speech and disappeared quickly after they were put up.[10]

On September 24, 2009, Graham's Chief of Staff, Ted Loza, was arrested by the FBI and charged with two counts of accepting bribes.[11] The indictment alleges that Loza accepted two payments and promised to promote the legislation and policies concerning D.C. taxi cabs that the alleged briber wanted. Graham was the chairman of the committee that oversees taxi cab regulation, but he voluntarily gave up oversight of cabs after Loza's arrest.

The District of Columbia Board of Ethics and Government Accountability found substantial evidence that Graham asked a developer to withdraw its bid for a real estate project so that another firm, who had donated to Graham, could win the bid.[12] In exchange, Graham offered to support the firm's bid for a lottery contract, violating the District employees code of conduct.[12] The District Council also reprimanded Graham for his inappropriate actions.[13] Graham described his actions as political horsetrading rather than anything illegal or unethical.[14]

Election Results[edit]

1998 Democratic Primary, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 4,894 49%
Democratic Frank Smith 3,219 32%
Democratic Todd Mosley 1,458 14%
Democratic Lenwood Orlando "Lenny" Johnson 232 2%
Democratic Baruti "BJ" Jahi 224 2%
Democratic Write-In 58 1%
1998 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[16]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 10,953 72%
Umoja Party Nik Earnes 1,927 13%
Green Scott McLarty 1,260 8%
Republican Mark Leventhal 868 6%
  Write-In 125 1%
2002 Democratic Primary, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[17]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 6,064 64%
Democratic Shelore Williams 1,586 17%
Democratic Dee Hunter 1,157 12%
Democratic Hector Rodriguez 436 5%
Democratic Tony De Pass 130 1%
Democratic Write-In 47 0%
2002 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[18]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 11,258 85%
D.C. Statehood Green Edward Chico Troy 1,910 14%
  Write-In 129 1%
2006 Democratic Primary, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[19]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 9,028 86%
Democratic Chad Williams 1,361 13%
Democratic Write-In 70 1%
2006 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 11,489 97%
  Write-In 326 3%
2010 Democratic Primary, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 8,381 57%
Democratic Jeff Smith 3,159 21%
Democratic Bryan Weaver 3,155 21%
Democratic Write-In 39 0%
2010 General Election, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Jim Graham 11,946 81%
D.C. Statehood Green Nancy Shia 1,376 9%
Republican Marc Morgan 1,137 8%
  Write-In 233 2%
2014 Democratic Primary, Council of the District of Columbia, Ward 1[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brianne K. Nadeau 6,688 59%
Democratic Jim Graham 4,642 41%
Democratic Write-In 57 1%

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Voters Guide 2006 Supplement" (PDF). The Washington Informer. 2006-09-24. 
  2. ^ http://www.dcboee.org/election_info/election_results/2014/April-1-Primary-Election
  3. ^ Snyder, Karen (2006). "Candidates for Ward 1 member of D.C. City Council Jim Graham". The Common Denominator. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2009. 
  4. ^ Voter Guide. "Jim Graham" Thursday, January 6, 2005; Page DZ13
  5. ^ Layton, Lyndsey. "Graham Blankets Ward 1, The District's Most Diverse". The Washington Post. 2006-08-19. Page B01.
  6. ^ a b Guide to the Jim Graham Papers, 1973-2006, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University
  7. ^ Councilmember Jim Graham on What it’s All About, People's District
  8. ^ "Jim Graham." Carroll's State Directory. Carroll Publishing, 2009. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, 2009. galent.galegroup.com Fee via Fairfax County Public Library, accessed 2009-06-04. Document Number: K2416014673.
  9. ^ a b "Rainbowhistory.org". [dead link]
  10. ^ Jones, James. "The Graham Crusade". Washington City Paper. 2005-12-02.
  11. ^ Washington, The (2009-09-24). "Washingtontimes.com". Washingtontimes.com. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  12. ^ a b DeBonis, Mike (February 7, 2013). "Jim Graham is scolded but not penalized in ethics probe". The Washington Post. 
  13. ^ Craig, Tim (February 23, 2013). "D.C. Council reprimands Jim Graham in lottery contract flap". The Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Madden, Patrick (February 22, 2013). "Jim Graham Fights Back Against Reprimand From D.C. Council". WAMU. 
  15. ^ "1998 Primary Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. September 25, 1998. 
  16. ^ "1998 General Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. November 13, 1998. 
  17. ^ "2002 Primary Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. September 20, 2002. 
  18. ^ "2002 General Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. November 21, 2002. 
  19. ^ "2010 Primary Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. September 26, 2006. 
  20. ^ "2006 General Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. November 21, 2006. 
  21. ^ "2010 Primary Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. September 29, 2010. 
  22. ^ "2010 General Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. November 19, 2010. 
  23. ^ "2014 Primary Election Certified Results". District of Columbia Board of Elections. April 23, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Council of the District of Columbia
Preceded by
Frank Smith
Ward 1 Member, Council of the District of Columbia
1999 – present
Incumbent