Jim Nicholson (Secretary of Veterans Affairs)
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|5th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs|
January 26, 2005 – October 1, 2007
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Anthony Principi|
|Succeeded by||James Peake|
|United States Ambassador to the Holy See|
September 13, 2001 – January 26, 2005
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Lindy Boggs|
|Succeeded by||Francis Rooney|
|Chair of the Republican National Committee|
January 17, 1997 – January 18, 2001
|Preceded by||Haley Barbour|
|Succeeded by||Jim Gilmore|
|Born||Robert James Nicholson
February 4, 1938
Struble, Iowa, U.S.
|Education||United States Military Academy (BS)
Columbia University (MPP)
University of Denver (JD)
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1961–1991|
Combat Infantryman Badge
Meritorious Service Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross
Air Medal (2)
Robert James "Jim" Nicholson (born February 4, 1938) is an attorney, real estate developer, and a former Republican Party chairman. He was the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs from January 26, 2005 until October 1, 2007.
Nicholson was born on a farm near Struble, Iowa. Nicholson has characterized his childhood as "growing up dirt poor in a tenant house without plumbing and sometimes without food". He is the brother of retired Army General John W. Nicholson.
He is a 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and served eight years in active duty. He was a paratrooper and Ranger-qualified Army officer. He fought in the Vietnam War, where he earned the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two Air Medals. After thirty years of military service he retired in 1991 with the rank of Colonel.
In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Graduate Award by the USMA.
Legal and business career
Before becoming active in civilian government service, he practiced law in Denver, Colorado, specializing in real estate, municipal finance and zoning law. In 1978 he founded Nicholson Enterprises, Inc., a developer of planned residential communities, and in 1987 he bought Renaissance Homes, a custom-home builder. Currently, he is senior counsel with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP. His practice includes public policy, health care, state and federal regulatory law, international relations, real estate, oil and gas, and alternative energy. He works from both the Washington, D.C. and Denver offices.
Nicholson was chairman of the Volunteers of America of Colorado. He serves as director of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc, Daniels Fund, Federated Funds, and is a fellow of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Nicholson has never held elected office, but has long been active in the Republican Party. In January 1986, he was elected committeeman from Colorado for the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 1993, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the RNC, and was the "surprise pick" for GOP national chairman in January 1997. He served in that role through the 2000 presidential election.
Between 2001 and 2005, Nicholson served as United States Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican). In 2003, Pope John Paul II knighted him with the Grand Cross for his leadership on human rights issues and standing for religious freedom.Order of Pius IX.
- U.S. Envoy Thanks Pope for Prayers and Closeness, a post-9/11 press release from the Zenit News Agency
- Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. "Nicholson to Leave VA and Return to the Private Sector — Public and Intergovernmental Affairs". .va.gov. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- Official transcript of Nicholson's nomination, whitehouse.gov; Accessed March 13, 2007.
- College of Law History Alumni Image Collection from the University of Denver
- "Jim Nicholson, Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs". Georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov. Retrieved 2012-11-13.
- Coloradan Nicholson to lead Veterans Affairs, a December 2004 Denver Post article
- Official biography from the Department of Veterans Affairs website
-  VIP Speakers Bureau, Jim Nicholson
- Appearances on C-SPAN
-  Former Vatican Ambassador Nicholson sees wisdom of Holy Spirit in election of Pope Francis
|Party political offices|
|Chair of the Republican National Committee
|United States Ambassador to the Holy See
|United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs