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James H. Bilbray

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Harry Reid
Succeeded by John Ensign

Born May 19, 1938 (1938-05-19) (age 71)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician, Lawyer

James Hubert Bilbray (born May 19, 1938) is an American politician and lawyer from Nevada.

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bilbray graduated from Las Vegas High School and attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 1959 to 1960. He received a B.A. in government and public administration from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law in 1964. He served in the Nevada Army National Guard from 1955 to 1956 and in the Nevada Army Reserves from 1957 to 1963.

Bilbray practiced law and was deputy district attorney of Clark County, Nevada from 1965 to 1967. He was then chief legal counsel in the Clark County juvenile court from 1967 to 1968 and was an alternate municipal judge in Las Vegas from 1978 to 1980. He became licensed to practice law before the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1970. A Democrat, he served in the Nevada State Senate from 1981 to 1987 where he was chairman of the Taxation Committee and was also a member of the Judiciary Committee. He successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 for the seat being vacated by Harry Reid who had made a successful run for the U.S. Senate. He served as chairman of the Small Business Sub-Committee on Taxation, Tourism and Procurement and was also a member of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.

Bilbray lost his re-election campaign of 1994 to Republican opponent John Ensign by less than 1,400 votes after a scandal involving his aid was revealed. After leaving Congress, Bilbray joined the law firm of Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner and Renshaw as of counsel in 1996 where he has specialized in dealing with local, state and federal issues. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for his work in state and federal government. He was appointed a commissioner on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission and in 2006 was appointed a member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service by President George W. Bush for a term ending in 2015. He currently resides in Las Vegas. James H. Bilbray Elementary School in Las Vegas is named in his honor.

Bilbray is the cousin of Republican congressman Brian Bilbray of California.


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harry Reid
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Succeeded by
John Ensign


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