Congressman James “Jim” P Moran first ran for Alexandria City Council in 1979. In 1984, he successfully ran for Mayor of the City, serving in that position until running for Congress in 1990, winning an up-hill race against the favored incumbent Republican.
During his time in Congress, Jim was a leader on the Appropriations Committee, working across party lines to bring billions in economic investment to Northern Virginia to assist underserved communities, build up the region’s transportation infrastructure and create thousands of jobs, particularly in the defense and intelligence communities. He played a major role in funding the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project, Metro to Dulles, widening of Route 1 to Fort Belvoir and construction of numerous local road, bridge, environmental and public transit projects. In fact, the Washington Post cited the fact that “companies based in Representative James P. Moran’s district in Northern Virginia reaped $43 billion in federal contracts – roughly as much as the entire state of Texas.”
A vocal, active champion for commonsense progressive policies, he was one of the very few who opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in the early 1990’s before it was politically popular to do so and championed eliminating the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. He has strongly supported a woman’s reproductive rights throughout his career, and is a staunch supporter of stronger gun safety laws. He chaired the Animal Protection Caucus, which helped enact bans on animal fighting, horse slaughter, animal abuse videos and the sale of cat and dog fur. He has been a relentless voice for strong and sustainable policies, both regionally and nationally. He fought to protect the EPA and Interior Department from deep and debilitating budget cuts and successfully pressed for funding to address endocrine disrupting chemicals in the Potomac River.
An outspoken opponent of the Iraq War from the very beginning, Jim helped lead opposition in Committee and on the floor to what he deemed a war of choice whose outcome would not strengthen American security but rather align Iraq with the Shiite dominated Iran. He authored the “Strategy for Success” amendment to the FY’05 Supplemental Appropriations bill, which, for the first time, required the Pentagon to provide a detailed assessment of US and Iraqi military capabilities was required of the Pentagon, the results of which strengthened arguments for ending the war. And when our soldiers began returning from the battlefield, he championed funding for PTSD research, treatment and care, cancer research due to hazardous exposure on the battlefield and traumatic brain injury treatment through the Defense Department budget.
During his time in Congress, Jim championed federal pay parity and authored with Congressman Wolf (R-VA, retired) the bill to ensure furloughed civil servants received back pay for the 2015 government shutdown. Jim also sponsored the law allowing unused sick leave to count towards retirement annuities, and a number of other measures strengthening federal worker benefits, including introducing and funding the first transit subsidies. He took to the House floor time and again to defend what he deemed the “greatest civil service in the world.”
Jim has matched these principles with the understanding that a strong economy is critical to achieving progressive priorities. In 1996, he co-founded the New Democrats, today one of the largest caucuses in the House. Through the New Dems, he has supported free and fair trade that has been an economic driver for our export heavy region, and has been active on a range of issues promoting a stronger vision for our nation’s economy.
Jim is now Senior Legislative Advisor at McDermott, Will, and Emery and teaches at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs.