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Jim McGovern has earned a national reputation as a tireless advocate for his district and as a champion for food security, human rights, campaign finance reform, social justice and peace. Born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, Jim is the son of two successful small business owners, Walter and Mindy. Both his sisters are teachers in the Worcester Public Schools. Jim is married to Lisa Murray McGovern and they have a son, Patrick and a daughter, Molly.
Since his first election to Congress in 1996, Jim has consistently delivered millions of dollars for jobs, vital local and regional projects, small businesses, public safety, regional and mass transportation projects, and affordable housing throughout his district and Massachusetts. Currently, Jim serves as the Chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, and a member of the House Agriculture Committee. In those roles, Jim has secured millions of dollars in federal grants and assistance for Massachusetts. Jim is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus.
Before his election to Congress, Jim spent 14 years working as a senior aide for the late U.S. Representative John Joseph Moakley (D-South Boston). In 1989, Moakley tapped Jim to lead the investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter. The investigation ultimately led to a seminal change in U.S. foreign policy towards El Salvador when it determined that the Salvadoran military was implicated in the murders. That landmark determination led to future military aid from the U.S. being conditioned on an improved human rights record. Jim’s time in El Salvador strengthened his personal and political beliefs.
In Congress, Jim has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education; to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities; and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves.
A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care, giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals.
Jim voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002 and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jim introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility.
Jim has also taken a leadership role in the fight against hunger at home and abroad, successfully expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps alleviate child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in the world’s poorest countries. Every year, Jim walks 43 miles throughout the Pioneer Valley to raise awareness of hunger in our community and to raise funds for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.
Jim is one of the leading voices in Congress fighting to overturn Citizens United, and has become one of the main advocates in the fight against corporate personhood.
Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts (‘81) and Masters of Public Administration (‘84) degrees from The American University, working his way through college by serving as an aide in the office of U.S. Senator George McGovern (D-SD). He went on to manage Senator McGovern’s 1984 Presidential campaign in Massachusetts, and delivered his nomination speech during the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.
Back in 2012, I decided to launch a farm tour. It was right after the 2010 census, and the Second Congressional District had just changed shape — I still represented Worcester, but I also started representing many more farms in Central and Western Massachusetts.
I think one of the most important things a Member of Congress can do is listen — so I asked my staff to invite leaders from the United States Department of Agriculture, the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Together, we all spent two days traveling from farm to farm, listening and learning. I was blown away by the determination, innovation, and passion of our farmers.
Some of the richest farmland in America lies right here along the Pioneer Valley and fields of Central Massachusetts. But more importantly, some of the most dedicated, hardworking farmers in all of America are our neighbors and friends. Our farms and farmers are vital to our landscape and essential to our health and well-being.
Here are a few of my priorities for America’s farmers and farms. Don’t see something you think I should know about? Click here to shoot me an email and lets talk.
I’ve seen firsthand the destructive strain that big business and consolidation within the agriculture industry has put on our small farms. That’s why in Congress, I have worked to ensure that the government assistance available to large, single- crop farms is also available to our organic and diversified farms. For example, I have successfully fought for increased funding of conservation programs like EQUIP, which can help our farms ensure long-term stability without long-term reliance on the government.
I also believe that we ought to protect farm lands and preserve access for those looking to open farms, which is why I’ve long supported Farm Preservation and Farm Transition programs at USDA, programs like the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
To stay in business, farmers need to turn a profit. Increasingly, that means they need to be not only farmers, but bookkeepers, marketers, social media experts, and more. That’s why I’ve successfully worked to increase outreach by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) here in Massachusetts to help ensure all our farmers have the tools they need to thrive.
We also know that access to affordable, healthy, nutritious food is absolutely critical when it comes to improving health outcomes and reducing health care costs. When I was growing up, my grandmother used to say “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” I wish she were still alive so I could tell her how right she was. An estimated one in eight Americans ? 42 million altogether? are food insecure. This means that not only may they be experiencing hunger, but that the kinds of food they eat are probably not nutritious enough to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle. At the same time, rates of chronic disease caused by poor nutrition are rising, and the more food insecure you are, the more likely you are to have chronic diseases like hypertension, coronary heart disease, hepatitis, stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes and arthritis.
The research is clear: food is medicine. We can no longer look at hunger and healthcare as separate issues. They’re two sides of the same coin. When families don’t have access to nutritious food, their health suffers. It’s as simple as that— which is why I cofounded the bipartisan Food is Medicine Working Group in Congress, and have worked to convene leaders in health care and agriculture to discuss concrete steps we can take educate our colleagues and staff and reform the way we think about these issues in America.
We need to take a hard look at how we can protect farms from the negative impacts of climate change. I’ve successfully fought to ensure that federal aid is available for family farms following unusual droughts here in Massachusetts by working with the federal government to ensure that economic injury disaster loans are available to Massachusetts farmers on top of the standard disaster assistance provided. I’ve also introduced the Save America’s Pollinators Act here in the House of Representatives to demand that the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.
And to promote rural development, I have worked to increase the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to allow more farmers in Massachusetts access to funds to support increased renewable energy and energy efficiency. This helps our small rural farms save money and move towards being energy independent.
ECONOMY AND JOBS
Jim comes from a family of small business owners. Growing up in Worcester, Jim saw firsthand the challenges his parents faced owning their own small businesses, and the tremendous rewards that come from entrepreneurship. Jim’s top priority in Congress is fighting for a healthy and growing economy so that all our families have the chance to get ahead and stay ahead.
Over the past three decades, even as our economy has grown, household incomes have stagnated. In neighborhoods where hardworking families were once able to reach the middle class and give their kids a better life, parents now struggle just to make ends meet.
Jim knows that economic growth must mean growth for everyone – not just those at the top. He believes that the measure of our success must be how much incomes rise for working families. To do this, Jim has co-sponsored legislation in Congress to ensure a living wage for all working families instead of tax breaks for those at the top. Jim has also co-sponsored legislation like the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which would level the playing field between small businesses and large corporations that take advantage of tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share.
Jim believes that we must invest in our economy to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts can find a good-paying job. This means investing in our local infrastructure to ensure that businesses have the tools they need to grow and thrive. It also means investing in our workforce to ensure that workers have the training and education they need to succeed in the 21st Century economy.
Finally, Jim remains focused on helping our small businesses grow and succeed. Jim has helped dozens of innovative small businesses thrive in Central and Western Massachusetts, including companies that produce solar panels, high-energy lasers, fuel cells, medical devices, and high-tech prosthetics for returning soldiers. Jim has also voted to provide tax relief and incentives for small businesses – and to reduce unnecessary red tape that many small businesses find to be a major challenge.
END HUNGER NOW
I almost always start off discussions about hunger by reminding everyone that hunger is a political condition.
Too many people think that America’s hunger crisis is the result of some kind of scarcity or lack of food – but nothing could be further from the truth. America is a land of abundance. Billions of dollars’ worth of good goes to waste in this country every single year, yet nearly 40 million Americans, including 1 in 8 children in Massachusetts, do not know where their next meal is going to come from. The truth is that we have the food, the ability, and the means to end hunger in America — what we lack is the political will and moral courage to act.
As Co-Chair of the House Hunger Caucus, I’m working to change that in Congress because I believe food ought to be a fundamental right for everyone.
That’s why I’ve led the fight in Congress to protect funding for the programs which help hungry families get by — and in particular SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
As Chairman of the House Rules Committee, I introduced a rules package which directed the House Office of General Counsel to explore legal options for responding to the Trump Administration’s attempts to limit access to SNAP for hundreds of thousands of hungry Americans.
I’ve introduced a bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives to expand access to healthy school breakfasts for students across America, because far too many students have trouble learning because they come to school hungry.
I authored legislation which created the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program. Now in its third decade, McGovern-Dole aims to provide at least one nutritious meal a day to some of the world’s most vulnerable children in a school setting. It has reduced the incidence of hunger among school-age children. It has increased school enrollments and attendance. It has increased the support of families and communities for education, especially for girls. And importantly, it has showcased the kindness and compassion of the American people for all the world to see.
Because we know hunger and health are intricately linked, I founded the bipartisan Food is Medicine working group in Congress to highlight just how critical healthy meals are for American families. We cannot address hunger and health as two separate issues. I have been fighting for chronically-ill individuals to receive the right meals for their health, and for all families to get healthy food to prevent them from getting sick. The Democratic and Republican leaders of this group have come together to recognize that everyone has a stake in the providing relief for hungry Americans, it’s an issue that must go beyond party politics.
My passion for ending hunger comes from my old boss, Senator George McGovern (to whom I have no relation).
In 1967, he was with his family watching an hour long program on CBS called “Hunger in America.” Senator McGovern later commented about one of its scenes which showed a little boy standing in a school lunch room watching his classmates eat.
When a reporter asked the boy what he was thinking, he lowered his head, dug his toe into the floor and said softly, “I’m ashamed.”
“Why are you ashamed?” asked the reporter.
“Because,” said the boy, “I haven’t got any money.”
George McGovern, sitting in his comfortable Washington home said, “It’s not that little youngster who should be ashamed. I should be ashamed as a U.S. Senator who didn’t even know that children who can’t afford it are not provided a school lunch.”
The documentary led Senator McGovern to work together with Senator Bob Dole of Kansas – a staunch Republican – to successfully improve the reach of anti-hunger programs like SNAP, and make a real dent in our hunger crisis.
Sadly, by the time I started working for Senator McGovern in the 1980s, trickle-down economics had demonized the poor and led to cut after cut to our anti-hunger safety net. And when I got elected in 1996, the situation was so bad that I knew my top priority in Congress was preventing further cuts and bringing back the political will to end hunger in America.
have spent my career in Congress defending the SNAP program from dangerous budget cuts. For example, when the Trump Administration’s 2019 budget attempted to cut SNAP by $17 Billion, leaving 15 million Americans without enough money to put food on the table, I stood up and fought back successfully to prevent budget cuts and ensure that the SNAP program is there when people need it.
For years I have also been giving #EndHungerNow speeches on the floor of Congress. Too often when I raise the issue of hunger in Congress my colleagues look at me like I’m not in touch with reality. Too many of them don’t know how serious an issue hunger is. But we are changing that, and as support grows I am proud to continue fighting for assistance for Americans in need. Together, I believe we will build the political will to win the fight against hunger.
Congressman McGovern believes that the United States must have a robust and proactive approach to foreign policy. He believes that it is essential to reach out not only to our allies, but also to those nations with which we have strained relations. Jim knows that communication is the key to furthering global cooperation and understanding, and that to overcome global challenges and divisions, we must work together.
The Congressman strongly believes that the U.S. embargo against Cuba and the travel ban that prohibits U.S. citizens from traveling to Cuba have long outlived their usefulness, and that they should be brought to an end. Such policies serve neither the American or Cuban peoples.
Congressman McGovern supports the Middle East peace process and believes that a “two-state” solution provides the best hope for long-term peace in the region. Jim has been a long-time and steadfast supporter of Israel’s right to exist and defend itself, and he believes that both the people of Israel and of the Palestinian territories have a right to a peaceful and prosperous existence.
HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE
Congressman McGovern has been a strong proponent of increasing access to affordable health care for our families and small businesses. Jim voted to prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or raising their premiums when someone gets sick. He supported improving Medicare benefits by closing the “donut hole” in the prescription drug benefit; allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26; and extending coverage to the uninsured. Congressman McGovern will continue to work hard to make health care more affordable for all by cutting costs for small businesses and investing in new technologies.
Jim McGovern has helped spur investments in cutting-edge medical technologies in Massachusetts, including genetic disease research at UMass Memorial, “untethered” health care at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, battlefield chemical detections devices for our soldiers, and state-of-the-art prosthetics for wounded veterans.
Rental prices have surged at twice the rate of hourly wages. Renters are struggling to keep up with sky-high raises in rent that eat further and further into their paycheck. Massachusetts, where many spend over 30% of their budget on rent, has been hit especially hard by these dramatic increases. And buying a home – once an achievable pathway to the American dream – has slipped further and further out of reach from working families who just can’t save up enough to get ahead no matter how hard they try.
Many of our seniors and veterans struggle to find any housing at all, and too many in the most vulnerable segments of society are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.
I believe that each and every American family deserves to find stable, affordable, quality housing. I have worked hard during my time in Congress to support laws and funding for programs that encourage affordable housing and promote home ownership, and I know that if work together, we can find solutions that revitalize our communities, support renters and create paths towards homeownership, and eliminate homelessness in America once and for all.
For example, I have strongly supported:
1 . The Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a key component to creating new affordable housing and rehabilitating existing stock.
2 . The HOME program, which allows cities and towns to develop new affordable housing by leveraging private money.
3 . Programs like Section 8, Supportive Housing for the Elderly, and Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities which help prevent homelessness among the most vulnerable segments of society.
4 . The Community Development Block Grant program, which helps provide affordable housing for working families by enabling them to purchase homes and helps our communities construct new affordable housing and preserve and rehabilitate existing housing.
5 . The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has protected borrowers and made it easier to hold big mortgage lenders accountable when they break the law.
Congressman McGovern feels that immigration laws need to be tough at the border, and that American workers and immigrants who came to the country legally should not be punished for businesses’ exploitation of cheap and illegal labor. However, the Congressman also feels that there needs to be a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already here, and the federal government should take bold steps to require them to pass background checks, learn English, and pay a fine.
Congressman McGovern supports immigration reform with four key components: First, we must improve the effectiveness of our border security to prevent people from crossing the border illegally. Second, we must crack down on employers who recruit, hire and exploit illegal workers. Third, we must develop a common-sense approach to people who are already here illegally, to bring them out of the shadows and onto a path to citizenship. And fourth, we must have an effective and efficient system in place to process, in a timely manner, the large volume of requests to legally visit or immigrate to the United States.
Immigration reform is an issue that has been put off and pushed down the road for too long, and Congressman McGovern supports immediate bipartisan action on the issue to solve the broken immigration system once and for all.
In Congress and in Massachusetts, Congressman McGovern has been a strong advocate for improving our roads and highways, and increasing access to mass transportation options.
He continues to work for an extension of public rail service throughout Western and Central Massachusetts, and has been a supporter of key funding to improve bus access in Central Massachusetts.
He is also the co-sponsor of legislation designed to keep freight shipped by fuel-efficient and effective trains, and keep dangerous massive freight trucks off the road.
Jim has been one of Washington’s loudest and most consistent voices in the fight to overturn the Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court rulings.
Citizens United shifted the landscape of campaign finance reform and reinvigorated a conversation about the fabricated doctrine of corporate constitutional rights. When the Supreme Court determined that corporations are entitled to the same free speech rights as people, it reversed decades of precedent recognizing the need to regulate corporate spending in our elections. In McCutcheon, the Supreme Court struck down aggregate contribution limits, allowing even more money from wealthy individuals to infiltrate our elections.
As an active member of the House Democratic Caucus’s Task Force on Election Reform, Congressman McGovern has been at the forefront of efforts to overturn these Supreme Court decisions.
In short, Jim believes that power ought to reside in the voters of American, not the shareholders of Wall Street. He has introduced two constitutional amendments to restore democracy and accountability to our political process:
House Joint Resolution 20 promotes the fundamental principles of political equality for all citizens by giving Congress and State Legislatures the power to regulate political spending in their respective states.
House Joint Resolution 21, the “People’s Rights Amendment” overturns Citizens United and makes clear that the rights protected by the Constitution are the rights of natural persons. The amendment clarifies that corporations, whether they be for-profit or non-profit entities, are not people with constitutional rights.
As the brother of two Worcester Public School teachers, Jim McGovern knows that a quality education is essential to preparing our students for the 21st Century economy. Jim believes that investing in our public schools is the best way to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive.
Jim has always been a strong supporter of early childhood development services, including Reach Out and Read, Head Start, and Child Care Development Block Grants, and continues to urge House leadership to provide robust funding for these programs. Similarly, Jim has led the fight to strengthen school lunch programs, understanding that school meals are as essential for our children’s ability to learn as any textbook.
Jim is also committed to providing funds for school construction and modernization. He seeks to improve classrooms by adding high-speed internet access and other cutting-edge technology. Jim has helped to secure millions of dollars in grant money for schools across Massachusetts’ Second District.
Finally, Jim is dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable higher education. He has worked to end the wasteful subsidies to banks in the student loan program and to increase funding for the Pell Grant program so that middle class families can afford to send their kids to college.
Jim has also voted for plans like Income-Based Repayment, which offer student loan borrowers manageable payments plans, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which allows borrowers who enter into public service the chance to have their loans forgiven after 120 payments.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
We no longer have time to debate the evidence. It is as clear as it is overwhelming: climate change is caused by human activity, and it is an existential threat to our future on this planet.
I believe that for far too long, those who oppose change have given us a false choice: grow our economy or protect our environment. I believe this thinking is disastrously wrong. I believe that if we aim high, we can rebuild our manufacturing sector and create millions of good jobs by transitioning to green energy. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it happen right here in Massachusetts. I’ve helped businesses that are taking a leading role in growing green energy production, and I’ve watched as they have grown and created good, American jobs in clean and renewable energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing.
That’s why America needs a Green New Deal. Only by taking bold, aggressive action will we be able to successfully transform our economy, create millions of good, high-wage jobs that ensure economic prosperity and security for all Americans, and save our planet.
I’m also proud that I put the principles behind the Green New Deal into action on day one as Chairman of the Rules Committee by including in our rules package the creation of a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to elevate this issue and come up with real solutions that match the scope of the challenges we face.
But this fight didn’t start this month or even this decade. As a member of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition in the House, I’ve been fighting my entire career to protect our planet from the greedy fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists.
Back in 1998, when I first got elected, Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich tried to completely eliminate funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, or LWCF— America’s most important program conservation program that protects irreplaceable lands and improves outdoor recreation opportunities. Gingrich was unsuccessful because I organized my colleagues, took him on, and won, passing amendment which prevented him from cutting conservation funding. And when I became Chairman of the Rules Committee, I proudly brought to the House Floor the Great American Outdoors Act, which finally provides full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually.
Since climate change is an international problem, I believe the United States needs to take a leading role in ensuring that all countries, both industrialized and developing, cooperate in this international effort.
I proudly supported the President Obama’s decision to join the Paris Climate Agreement, and as Chairman of the House Rules Committee, I brought to the House Floor H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, to reverse the Trump Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
And as new investments are made into our energy infrastructure, those investments must not ignore the effects they will have on climate change. That’s why I introduced a bill that would require new natural gas pipelines to publish the greenhouse gas emissions of the natural gas they transport — from extraction all the way to final use.
Our climate is changing. Our children’s future depends on investing in clean, sustainable energy sources — and taking bold steps to address the damage we have already done to our fragile planet. I will continue to fight for big, bold solutions to the climate crisis that will usher in a healthier, more equitable, and more resilient economy for everyone.
Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Aurora. Las Vegas. Parkland. The list goes on and on. Each life taken due to gun violence is not just another name on a list — it’s someone’s mom or dad, someone’s best friend or high school sweetheart.
As a country, thoughts and prayers are no longer enough — we need legislation and change.
I believe that to make change, we first need to take on the gun lobby and their powerful stranglehold on Congress.
As a proud member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, I know firsthand that too many Members of Congress are in the NRA’s pocket. Poll after poll shows the American people want to see a shift in the way this country handles the manufacturing and sale of guns. Yet tragedy after tragedy, Washington pledges action and nothing changes. To end this cycle, I want to get big money out of politics and reform our campaign finance system to ensure that the voice of the American people — not the NRA — is what lawmakers listen to. That’s why I’ve introduced Constitutional Amendments to overturn the Supreme Court’s Disastrous Citizens United decision and return power back to the people of this country, where it belongs.
I also voted in support of the For The People Act, sweeping anti-corruption legislation to slow the revolving door between Congress and K Street, give teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, close loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensure watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law, and shine a light on dark money in politics by upgrading online political ad disclosure and requiring all organizations involved in political activity to disclose their large donors.
Every year, background checks stop around 88,000 gun sales to criminals, domestic abusers, individuals with severe mental illnesses and other purchasers who are prohibited from buying guns.
But in some states, those same people can buy the same weapons at a gun show, over the internet or through a newspaper ad with no questions asked. That’s why I proudly voted for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 to expand background checks to cover all gun sales and most transfers.
I’m proud of states like Massachusetts that have led the nation in passing strong, commonsense gun violence prevention laws that are working.
States that have passed expanded background checks, laws to disarm domestic abusers, and extreme risk protection orders see lower rates of gun-related deaths, gun trafficking, intimate partner gun violence, suicides, and mass shootings.
But I believe we can and must do more. To truly address gun violence as the public health crisis it is, we need to pass legislation like the Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act, which would:
- Keep guns out of the wrong hands by banning individuals who present safety risks from buying guns, establishing Extreme Risk Protection Order systems, and cracking down on gun theft.
- Ensure that guns are used and stored responsibly by raising the minimum age for all gun or ammunition purchases to 21, establishing a 7-day waiting period for the purchase of all guns, strengthening gun storage laws, and banning guns on all school campuses.
- Hold the gun industry accountable by clarifying that gun manufacturers can be held liable for civil penalties for the harms their guns cause, authorizing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to address safety defects in firearms and firearm accessories, and raising the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.
- Invest in research and community-based gun violence prevention by providing $100 million in annual funding for federal research into gun violence and creating a new grant program to provide $100 million per year for gun violence intervention programs.
- Keep weapons of war off our streets by banning military-style assault weapons, lethal gun accessories, and untraceable and undetectable firearms.
- Crack down on gun trafficking by banning bulk gun purchases and establishing a new law to specifically ban gun trafficking.
- Improve oversight of gun dealers by strengthening ATF’s authority to inspect gun shops, enhancing record-keeping requirements for gun dealers, and repealing harmful appropriations riders that limit law enforcement’s ability to trace guns that are used in crimes and hold gun dealers accountable when they break the law.
Finally, I strongly believe that the Constitution gives every law-abiding American the right to own a firearm.
This debate is not a choice between ending gun violence and protecting the second amendment — but rather, between protecting responsible gun owners from powerful special interests in Washington who care more about their bottom line than about saving lives.
I know that Congress must do more to prevent gun violence, and I will do everything in my power to support common-sense solutions that prevent tragedy and save lives.
Congressman McGovern understands that the primary responsibility of our federal government is to keep the American people safe from those forces who would seek our nation harm. He believes it is essential that the agencies and people involved in this important work have the necessary resources available to them, but also that they use those resources in the most efficient and effective way possible, and that their conduct be held to the highest of standards.
Congressman McGovern has always been firmly committed to the protection and integrity of the U.S. Constitution, and that the fundamental rights and liberties contained within must never be sacrificed for the sake of temporary security.
Described as “The Conscience of the Congress” by Senator Ed Markey, Congressman McGovern is one of the foremost voices for human rights in Congress.
Congressman McGovern serves as the co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and is one of the foremost voices for human rights in Congress, both at home and abroad. The Congressman feels that human rights are not, and should not be treated as, a partisan issue.
Congressman McGovern has urged Congress to provide support for safety-net programs such as SNAP and Medicaid in order to provide all citizens with an acceptable quality of life, rather than demonizing those who are struggling. He has also supported the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and the implementation of humane interrogation standards for all detainees in U.S. custody.
In addition to focusing on human rights in the United States, Congressman McGovern has been an active force in advocating for human rights around the world. The Congressman has spoken to the House of Representatives about bringing an end to the prosecution of the Rohingya people by the government of Burma, supported U.S. assistance to the Nigerian government with the aim of finding nearly 300 abducted schoolgirls, and advocated for human rights in Bahrain and Columbia. In June, Congressman McGovern introduced HR 4851, The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act.
This bipartisan bill promotes access to Tibetan areas of China for U.S. officials, journalists, and average citizens. Currently, travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government on Tibet are more severe than for any other provincial-level entity of China.
Securing human rights for all people—both in the U.S. and abroad—is a key focus for Congressman McGovern and he will continue to monitor and speak out on situations that must be addressed.
Jim is a devoted advocate to the people of the Massachusetts’s Second Congressional district and their values. Whether your concern is the economic improvement of the area, infrastructure, transportation, or education, Jim is a passionate, hard-working legislator who fights tenaciously for his constituents.
Born and raised in Worcester, Jim understands the most important issues facing the area. He frequently hosts office hours for residents and small business owners to gather and express their concerns, participates in town-wide walking tours, and attends events at local schools and food pantries. Jim also understands the importance of cooperation between local government and federal government. By hosting municipal listening sessions, he is able to hear from local leaders about the challenges and opportunities communities are facing and work together to find a solution.
Those who have served our country in uniform and put their life on the line to defend our freedom deserve to be treated in a way that reflects the great sacrifices they have made on our behalf. We always hear that on the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. I believe that as a nation, we must pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.
Here are some of my actions in Congress to help veterans and military families, and ensure that they get the treatment and care they deserve:
Created a Wounded Warrior Service Dog Program which offers competitive grants to nonprofits that train service dogs to address the physical and mental health needs of veterans. So far, I have successfully secured federal funding for this program every year since 2014, and I am currently working to pass legislation that would permanently authorize and fund this important program. The funding I have secured has helped train thousands of dogs that care for and treat veterans with physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress.
Fought tirelessly to demand that the Department of Defense create a service medal for veterans exposed to radiation during U.S. nuclear weapons testing.
Successfully championed legislation to increase the military death gratuity to families of military personnel killed while on active duty, including families of Reserves and National Guard. I introduced a bill, H.R. 3019, to double the military death gratuity benefit for military personnel killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere from $6,000 to $12,000, restore its former tax exempt status, and make these benefits retroactive to September 11, 2001. The idea was passed by the House in a unanimous vote on October 29, 2003, and was signed into law by President Bush on November 11, 2003.
Secured millions of dollars for local nonprofits that help veterans in Massachusetts, including organizations like Veterans, Inc. that serve as a one-shop-stop for veterans’ needs.
Cut through federal bureaucracy to help hundreds of veterans throughout our district get the medals and recognition they deserve from our county.
To guarantee that highest standards of service and accountability are maintained by the VA, I was proud to vote for the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. This bill — signed into law in 2017— would give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs more power to remove negligent employees and protect those who bring wrongdoing to light.C
Consistently and strongly supported increasing healthcare accessibility for veterans while blocking efforts to privatize the VA. For example, I pushed for the creation of a state-of-the-art community-based outpatient clinic for veterans in Worcester that will open in 2021 and ensure that veterans in Worcester County no longer have to make an hour-long trip to Boston or Northampton for medical care.
Voted YES on The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which was signed into law by the president on June 25th, 2019, which extends the presumptive coverage of Agent Orange related illnesses to veterans who served up to 12 miles off-shore of Vietnam from 1962 through 1975.
I also cosponsor important bills like:
- The Homeless Veteran Families Act, which includes the children of homeless veterans when calculating certain per diem grants.
- The FIGHT Veteran Suicides Act, which requires the VA to notify Congress after a completed or attempted suicide in/on the property of a VA facility, which requires VA to provide guidance for Congress to safely message such events.
- The Legal Services for Homeless Veterans Act, which allows the secretary of Veterans Affairs to allocate grants to legal services providers that serve veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
- Military Housing Oversight and Service Member Protection Act, which would give the Secretary of Defense statutory responsibility to ensure that privatized military housing providers are meeting the terms of their contracts.