Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) is serving his eleventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 7th Congressional District in Washington State, which includes Seattle and parts of several neighboring communities. As a senior Member of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. McDermott is chairman of the Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee and also serves on the Subcommittee on Trade.
Jim McDermott was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 28, 1936. He was the first member of his family to attend college and Jim went on to finish medical school. After completing his medical residency and military service, he made his first run for public office in 1970 and was elected to the State Legislature from the 43rd district in Washington State. In 1974, he ran for the State Senate, and subsequently was re-elected three times.
In 1987, after 15 years of legislative service, Rep. McDermott decided to leave politics and continue in public service as a Foreign Service medical officer based in Zaire, providing psychiatric services to Foreign Service, AID, and Peace Corps personnel in sub-Saharan Africa. When the 7th district Congressional seat later became open, he returned from Africa to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. He was elected in 1988 to the 101st Congress and is currently serving his 11th term.
A physician, Rep. McDermott is especially interested in health care issues. While in the state legislature, he developed the Washington Basic Health Plan, the first state program in the country to provide low-cost health insurance to the unemployed and working poor. In the Congress, he is especially active in health care reform issues. He founded and chairs the Congressional Task Force on International HIV/AIDS, and introduced the AIDS Housing Opportunities Act, for special housing assistance for people with AIDS. Rep. McDermott, the co-author of Single Payer health care legislation, is leading the fight in the House of Representatives to guarantee all Americans comprehensive health care coverage.
Rep. McDermott is married to Therese Hansen, an attorney in Seattle. Rep. McDermott has two adult children and three grandchildren. He attends St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.