|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Rhode Island's 2nd district
January 3, 2001
|Secretary of State of Rhode Island|
January 3, 1995 - January 3, 2001
|Member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives|
from the 29th district
January 1989 - January 1995
April 22, 1964|
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
Rhode Island College (BA)|
Harvard University (MPA)
James R. Langevin (born April 22, 1964) is the U.S. Representative for Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party. Langevin is the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress.
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 Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.
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. Langevin received $2.2 million in a settlement with the city of Warwick.
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.
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." 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." 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.
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. 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.
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. He has voted in favor of health care extensively during his time in office. In addition, he receives much of his campaign donations from health professionals. 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."
Langevin is considered strongly pro-labor. He has received $130,000 in campaign contributions from pro-labor groups. During his time in office, he has supported labor interests in over 25 votes. Numerous labor interest groups have rated him extremely highly, including the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO, and the Utility Workers Union of America. The Latin America Working Group and The Alliance for Worker Freedom have ranked Langevin very poorly.
One of Langevin's top priorities as a Member of Congress has been the expansion of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. 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.
Langevin helped to found the House Cybersecurity Caucus, which he co-chairs. 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. 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.
Rep. Langevin supports cybersecurity measures as long as they do not add "unnecessary regulations to business". 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"
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. Langevin has also voted against limiting the interrogation techniques used in fighting terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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. 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.
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.
On July 26, 2010, Langevin became the first member of Congress to preside over the House of Representatives while using a wheelchair. The House had just recently installed a wheelchair lift leading up to the Speaker's rostrum.
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 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."
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." 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."
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. He was challenged by Republican nominee Michael Riley and Independent Abel Collins, an environmental activist. Langevin was re-elected with 55.7% of the vote.
|Party political offices|
| Democratic nominee for Secretary of State of Rhode Island
| Secretary of State of Rhode Island
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2001
Edward S. Inman
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district
January 3, 2001 – present
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| U.S. Representatives by seniority