James Langevin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jim Langevin
James Langevin official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2001
Preceded byRobert Weygand
24th Secretary of State of Rhode Island
In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
GovernorLincoln Almond
Preceded byBarbara Leonard
Succeeded byEd Inman
Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives
from the 29th district
In office
January 1989 – January 1995
Succeeded byJoseph McNamara
Personal details
Born (1964-04-22) April 22, 1964 (age 56)
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationRhode Island College (BA)
Harvard University (MPA)
WebsiteHouse website

James R. Langevin (/ˈlænəˌvɪn/; born April 22, 1964) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district since 2001. A member of the Democratic Party, he is the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress; Langevin was appointed to be the first quadriplegic Speaker pro tempore of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019.

Early life and education[edit]

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 Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.[1]

In 1980, at age 16, he was seriously injured in an accidental shooting. He had been working in the Boy Scout Explorer program at the Warwick Police Department when a firearm was accidentally discharged, leaving him paralyzed.[1] Langevin received $2.2 million in a settlement with the city of Warwick.[2]

Rhode Island government[edit]

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.[citation needed].

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]


Langevin has a mixed record on abortion. He has voted both to restrict and defend the choice to have the procedure. He voted against banning abortion coverage in the Affordable Care Act, however 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."[5][6] 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."[7] 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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]


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.[11] He has voted in favor of health care extensively during his time in office.[12] In addition, he receives much of his campaign donations from health professionals.[13] 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."[14]


Langevin is considered strongly pro-labor. He has received $130,000 in campaign contributions from pro-labor groups.[15] During his time in office, he has supported labor interests in over 25 votes.[16] Numerous labor interest groups have rated him extremely highly, including the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, and the Utility Workers Union of America.[17] The Latin America Working Group and The Alliance for Worker Freedom have ranked Langevin very poorly.[17]

Gun control[edit]

He supports gun control, and co-sponsored a 2005 bill which would have reauthorized the 1994 assault weapons ban, which had expired in 2004.[citation needed]

Stem cell research[edit]

One of Langevin's top priorities as a Member of Congress has been the expansion of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.[18] 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.[18]


Langevin helped to found the House Cybersecurity Caucus, which he co-chairs.[19] The Representative has appeared on 60 Minutes speaking about the national security challenges the country will face this century in regards to protecting infrastructure and data.[20] 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.[9]

Rep. Langevin supports cybersecurity measures as long as they do not add "unnecessary regulations to business".[21] His state of Rhode Island passed a statewide cybersecurity plan which Langevin greatly supported in October 2012. In May 2012, Langevin proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would account for the cyber risks that United States faces in terms of national security, saying without these measures the United States is " ignoring key aspects of what is fast becoming the biggest threat to our security"[22]

"Cybersecurity contractors General Dynamics and Raytheon were Langevin's two top sources for campaign contributions" in the 2010 election.[19]

Armed forces[edit]

Langevin, who serves on the Committee of Armed Services, has regularly voted for additional support of armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan but he has voted for a timeline for U.S. forces to leave Iraq as well as a ban on any permanent U.S. bases in the country.[23] Langevin has also voted against limiting the interrogation techniques used in fighting terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[24]

Tax cuts[edit]

Langevin, who serves on the Congressional Committee on the Budget, believes in tax-cuts for low-income and middle class citizens while eliminating the tax cuts made for the wealthy, indicating in his Political Courage Test that he wishes to "greatly decrease" taxes for families making less than $75,000.[9] Langevin also supports temporary incentives for businesses to invest in job creation. Representative Langevin, with a 100% rating from the AFL-CIO, is pro-labor and supports the regulation of business.[10]

Advocacy for disabled people[edit]

Langevin in the 2017 Bristol Fourth of July Parade

Langevin is known as an advocate for people with disabilities and for universal health care, being himself a quadriplegic. He is the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress.[25]

On July 27, 2004, he spoke to the Democratic National Convention, largely on the subject of stem cell research.

In March 2007, Langevin became a co-sponsor of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, which had the stated purpose of "enhancing and furthering research into paralysis and to improve rehabilitation and the quality of life for persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities." The bill passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate. However, in 2009, the bill was included in the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, also co-sponsored by Langevin, which passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama.

For the Presidency in 2008, Langevin announced his support for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY),[26] by serving as a special adviser on issues ranging from stem cell research to people with disabilities.

On July 26, 2010, Langevin became the first member of Congress to preside over the House of Representatives while using a wheelchair.[25] The House had just recently installed a wheelchair lift leading up to the Speaker's rostrum.[25]


Representative Langevin leans to the left on environmental and energy issues in Congress. Environmental issue groups have generally given him high ratings; more recently he received a 97% from the League of Conservation Voters in 2011. He has also received a rating of 100% from the Defenders of Wildlife Foundation. Conservative issue groups concerning the energy and the environment have given him very low ratings. He is a strong supporter of alternative energy from oil and coal, voting 'Nay' for the Stop the War Against Coal Act of September 2012[27] and he has supported measures for new wind farms in New England. He has praised these developments, saying wind farm "development holds great promise for Rhode Island and the country to have more stable and cleaner energy resources, while boosting our economy by presenting an opportunity to build a manufacturing base for these turbines and create quality jobs in the Ocean State."[28][29]

In 2011, Langevin strongly opposed the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would limit the EPA's ability to regulate carbon outputs. Calling the act the "Dirty Air Act," Langevin explained that in passing this act America would be "turning back the progress we have made to protect our health under the Clean Air Act," also claiming that the passage of the bill would be "continuing our nation's addiction to foreign oil."[30] Moreover, he has fought for more environmental regulations that he believes will help Rhode Islanders live healthier lives, saying that "protecting the environment is a matter of pride."[31]

Political campaigns[edit]

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, defeating independent Rodney Driver in 2006 and Republican Mark Zaccaria in 2008.


In 2010, he again defeated Republican nominee Mark Zaccaria.


Langevin ran for reelection in the 2nd district.[32] He was challenged by Republican nominee Michael Riley and Independent Abel Collins, an environmental activist.[33] Langevin was re-elected with 55.7% of the vote.[34]


  1. ^ a b "U.S. Representative Jim Langevin at house.gov". Archived from the original on March 27, 2008. Retrieved April 22, 2008.
  2. ^ McCutcheon, Michael; Barone, Chuck (2013). 2014 Almanac of American Politics. The University of Chicago Press.
  3. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  4. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Langevin on HR 6099 - Abortion Pain Bill". Votesmart.org. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  6. ^ "James Langevin on Abortion". www.ontheissues.org. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative James R. 'Jim' Langevin - The Department Of State, Foreign Operations And Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008-Continued". Votesmart.org. June 21, 2007. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  8. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative James R. 'Jim' Langevin - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. May 14, 2010. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  9. ^ a b c "Congressional Election 2000 National Political Awareness Test".
  10. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart Interest Group Ratings of James Langevin".
  11. ^ "H.R. 2399: American Health Benefits Program Act of 2009". GovTrack.us. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  12. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative James R. 'Jim' Langevin - Voting Record". Votesmart.org. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  13. ^ "Jim Langevin: Campaign Finance/Money - Summary - Congressman 2008". OpenSecrets. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  14. ^ "Jim Langevin for Congress: Issues: Health Care". Jimlangevin.com. Archived from the original on November 26, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  15. ^ "Jim Langevin: Campaign Finance/Money - Industries - Congressman 2008 | OpenSecrets". 63.e5bed1.client.atlantech.net. July 13, 2009. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  16. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative James R. 'Jim' Langevin - Voting Record". Votesmart.org. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart - Representative James R. 'Jim' Langevin - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
  18. ^ a b "James Langevin for Congress: Stem Cells". Archived from the original on November 26, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2009.
  19. ^ a b Carney, Timothy (April 27, 2011) The rise of the cybersecurity-industrial complex, Washington Examiner
  20. ^ "Cyber security is the topic for Langevin on 60 Minutes", Providence Journal-Bulletin, November 8, 2009
  21. ^ "Langevin Responds to Panetta's Stark Warnings about Cyber Threats". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  22. ^ "Langevin Proposes Cybersecurity Amendments to Defense Bill". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  23. ^ "James Langevin's Voting Record on Defense".
  24. ^ "James Langevin's Voting Record on the Military".
  25. ^ a b c ABC News. "Historic Lift: Wheelchair-Bound Member Presides Over House". ABC News Blogs. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  26. ^ "Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin Endorses Clinton". June 1, 2007. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved April 22, 2008.
  27. ^ "HR 3409 - Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 - Key Vote". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  28. ^ "Langevin Applauds Key Step Toward RI Wind Farm". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  29. ^ "Interior Launches Leasing Process for Commercial Wind Energy Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  30. ^ "Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  31. ^ "Langevin, Kennedy Urge Defeat of Anti-Environmental Legislation". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  32. ^ Peoples, Steve (April 29, 2011). "Langevin's Influence Jeopardized in Minority". GoLocalProv. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  33. ^ Arditi, Lynn (June 7, 2012). "Environmental activist challenges Langevin for District 2 seat". The Providence Journal. Retrieved June 16, 2012.
  34. ^ "2012 House Races". Politico. Retrieved January 30, 2013.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Kathleen Connell
Democratic nominee for Secretary of State of Rhode Island
1994, 1998
Succeeded by
Matt Brown
Political offices
Preceded by
Barbara Leonard
Secretary of State of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Ed Inman
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Weygand
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Sam Graves
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Rick Larsen