Jim McCrery has been recognized as one of the most thoughtful members of the United States Congress, focusing on solving America’s challenges by looking past politics of the moment and toward long-term, permanent solutions. Serving his ninth full term in the U.S. House, McCrery represents Louisiana’s Fourth Congressional District, encompassing northwest and west central Louisiana.
Congressional Quarterly has called McCrery an “economic guardian” for his work as Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. In addition, the non-partisan magazine named McCrery as one of twenty-eight “emerging players” who will shape Congress’s agenda in the post-September 11th world.
McCrery has concentrated his energies on producing fundamental tax reform, economic growth and making health care more available and affordable. In addition, former Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer has called McCrery “one of the most knowledgeable members of the House on the issue of welfare reform.” House leaders twice called on McCrery to serve on conference committees which resulted in the passage of historic welfare reform legislation. McCrery serves on the Ways and Means subcommittee on Human Resources that has jurisdiction on welfare reform issues.
In the 104th Congress, McCrery focused on preserving the fiscally-troubled Medicare program by co-authoring the Medicare Preservation Act. He served on the exclusive House-Senate Medicare conference committee in the fall of 1995.
Serving on the Ways and Means subcommittee on Health, McCrery plays a major role in shaping our country’s health care policy. During the 106th Congress, he helped write legislation to help seniors cope with the high cost of prescription drugs by providing a voluntary and affordable prescription drug program for all seniors.
In January of 2001, McCrery significantly increased his influence over fiscal and economic policy when he was named Chairman of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee. As Chairman of this tax subcommittee of Ways and Means, McCrery played a leading role in shaping and passing major tax bills during President George W. Bush’s first term. McCrery’s subcommittee was also responsible for holding hearings on and fashioning the tax portion of the 2003 Energy Bill.
At the start of the 109th Congress, McCrery was named Chairman to the Subcommittee on Social Security. McCrery plans to reform and strengthen the current Social Security system. He supports personal accounts, a plan that would allow workers to prepare for retirement by using some of their payroll taxes to invest in stocks and bonds. McCrery will also continue to serve on the Health Subcommittee and Human Resources Subcommittee throughout the 109th.
While emerging as a power player in Washington, McCrery continues to work hard on the issues important to Louisiana. A former member of the House Armed Services Committee, McCrery is well-versed on defense and national security policy issues. He has been successful in securing funding for Louisiana’s Fork Polk and Barksdale Air Force Base. He has made the completion of I-49 and I-69 one of his top priorities for Northern Louisiana. In addition, McCrery had legislation signed into law that created the first national wildlife refuge in northwest Louisiana. In 2001, the Louisiana Chapter of the March of Dimes named Jim McCrery as their Citizen of the Year.
With his senior position on the Ways and Means Committee and serving on the Executive Committee of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Journal called McCrery a “member who bears watching.” Congressional Quarterly mentions McCrery “as the heir apparent to the gavel of the House Ways and Means Committee.”
Rep. Jim McCrery was recently selected to the Ranking Member (the senior Republican) on the House Ways and Means Committee.”
Jim McCrery was first elected to Congress in the spring of 1988, when he emerged from a 10-candidate field to fill the unexpired term of Buddy Roemer, who had been elected Louisiana’s governor the previous fall. His victory on April 16, 1988, made him the first Republican elected from Louisiana’s Fourth District in 114 years.
Redistricting in 1992 placed McCrery in Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District where he faced an eight-term incumbent. His solid 63 to 37 percent victory made him the first Republican to represent the Fifth District in 116 years. He was re-elected to the Fifth District seat in 1994 with 80 percent of the vote.
In 1996, redistricting returned McCrery to the Fourth District where he was elected overwhelmingly. He was unopposed in 1998 and elected with 71 percent in 2000. In 2002, McCrery defeated two challengers with 72 percent of the electorate. He ran unopposed in 2004.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, on September 18, 1949, McCrery grew up in Leesville, Louisiana, where he graduated from Leesville High School. He earned a B.A. in English and History from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston in 1971 and a Juris Doctor from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1975. That same year he was admitted to the Louisiana Bar.
After practicing law with the Leesville firm of Jackson, Smith & Ford from 1975-1978, McCrery went on to serve as an Assistant City Attorney in Shreveport from 1979-1980. From 1981-1984, he worked for Congressman Buddy Roemer, first as District Manager in Shreveport, then as Legislative Director in Washington.
McCrery returned to Louisiana in 1984 to become In-house Counsel and Regional Manager for Governmental Affairs for Georgia Pacific Corporation. There he gained broad experience in taxation and economic development, and specialized in economic incentives for capital investment.
After being named to the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) in 1986, McCrery chaired LABI’s Liability Task Force and received national recognition for bringing common-sense reforms to Louisiana’s liability laws. He also chaired the Louisiana Forestry Association Regulatory Affairs Committee that same year.
McCrery is a recipient of numerous honors including the Guardian of Small Business Award (National Federation of Independent Business), the Spirit of Enterprise Award (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and the Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award (60 Plus Association).
The congressman married the former Johnette Hawkins on August 3, 1991. They have two children, Scott and Clark.