Jim Clyburn: Wikis


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Jim Clyburn

Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Leader Steny Hoyer
Preceded by Roy Blunt

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina's 6th District
Assumed office 
January 3, 1993
Preceded by Robin Tallon

Born July 21, 1940 (1940-07-21) (age 69)
Sumter, South Carolina
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Emily Clyburn
Children Mignon Clyburn and others
Residence Columbia, South Carolina
Alma mater South Carolina State University
Religion African Methodist Episcopal

James Enos "Jim" Clyburn (born July 21, 1940) is an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives for the 6th congressional district of South Carolina (map). A Democrat, he represents South Carolina's only majority-black district, which includes Florence, Sumter and large portions of Columbia and Charleston.

Clyburn is the House Majority Whip in the 110th Congress, and is the third-ranking Democrat in the House behind House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. He is the second African American (behind Bill Gray of Pennsylvania) and the first South Carolinian to hold the position. In the 2008 presidential primary season, he eventually endorsed Barack Obama. Clyburn was considered for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in Obama's cabinet; Obama appointed his eldest daughter, Mignon Clyburn, to the Federal Communications Commission.[1]


Early life

Clyburn was born in Sumter, South Carolina, the son of Enos Lloyd Clyburn, a fundamentalist minister, and his wife Almeta (née Dizzley), a librarian.[2] Republican South Carolina Congressman George W. Murray is a distant relative of his. He attended South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University) in Orangeburg where he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and graduated with a bachelor's degree in history. He taught at C.A. Brown High School in Charleston. After an unsuccessful run for the South Carolina General Assembly, he moved to Columbia to join the staff of Governor John C. West in 1971, and become the first minority advisor to a South Carolina Governor. Governor West appointed him the state's human affairs commissioner in 1974 in the aftermath of the Orangeburg massacre,[3] a position which he held until 1992, when he stepped down to run for Congress.

1992 election

Following a Supreme Court mandate, the Florence-based 6th district was redrawn as a black-majority district. Five-term incumbent Robin Tallon opted to retire, and five black candidates ran for the Democratic nomination for the seat—the real contest in this overwhelmingly Democratic district. Clyburn secured 55% of the vote in the primary, eliminating the need for an expected run-off. As expected, he won the general election in November. He has been reelected eight times, never facing a serious or well-funded challenger. From 1998 to 2006, his opponent was Gary McLeod, a strongly conservative Republican from Clarendon County.

2008 election

In 2008, Clyburn faced Republican candidate Nancy Harrelson of Marion, SC. Clyburn won that contest with 67.5 percent of the vote. [4]

Congressional career

During the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, Clyburn supported Dick Gephardt until he dropped out of the race and afterwards supported John Kerry. Clyburn is generally considered to be the most important African-American political leader in his home state.

Clyburn was elected as vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2003, the third-ranking post in the caucus. He became chairman in early 2006 after caucus chairman Bob Menendez was appointed to the Senate.

After the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 election, Clyburn was unanimously elected as Majority Whip in the 110th Congress.

Clyburn was interviewed by National Public Radio's Morning Edition on January 12, 2007, and acknowledged the difficulty of counting votes and rallying the fractious Democratic caucus, now that his party holds the majority in the House. Clyburn has traveled all throughout the state of South Carolina honoring people who have made significant contributions to various causes.

He was one of the 31 who voted in the House to not count the electoral votes from Ohio in the United States presidential election, 2004. [5]

Political Positions

Clyburn is regarded to be liberal in his political stances, actions and votes. A recent ranking by the National Journal listed him to be the 77th most liberal of all 435 US congressional representatives, and with a score of 81, indicating that the conductors of this study found his voting record to be more liberal than 81 percent of other members of the US House of Representatives based on their recent voting records. [6]

Clyburn has an established liberal stance on healthcare, education, organized labor, environment and environmental conservation issues, and based on his legislative actions as well as evaluations and ratings by pertinent interest groups. [7]


In 2009, Clyburn introduced the Access for All Americans Act. The $26 billion sought by this Act would provide funding to quadruple the number of community health centers in the US that provide medical care to uninsured and low-income citizens. [8]

The American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, The Children’s Health Fund and other healthcare interest groups rate Clyburn very high based on his voting record on pertinent issues, while other groups in this field, such as the American College of Physicians and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, give Clyburn ratings of zero. [9]

Also, Clyburn is regarded to be pro-choice on the issue of abortion, as is made evident by his high ratings from the Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America organizations, and very low rating from the National Right to Life Committee. [10]


For education, Clyburn has continuously sought new and additional funding. Included in the programs that Clyburn has successfully achieved additional funding for are special education [11] and lower interest rates on federal student loans[12]. In many sessions has Clyburn sought, sponsored and/or voted for improvements in Pell Grant funding.[13]

The National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals rate Clyburn very high, as do other education interest groups. [14]


Clyburn has consistently voted for increases in minimum wage income and to restrict employer interference with labor union organization. [15]

Many national labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, the Communication Workers Association and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, give Clyburn outstanding ratings based on his voting record on issues that pertain to labor and employment. [16]

Environment & conservation

Clyburn has opposed legislation to increase offshore drilling for oil or natural gas. Instead, he has promoted use of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, cheaper than wind and solar energy. [17]

Clyburn has continuously been viewed favorably by organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife. [18]

Special Interests

On Sept. 17, 2009, Congressman Clyburn was one of only 75 members of the U.S. House of Reprsentatives who voted against HR 3221, a bill that would defund ACORN.[19]

War in Iraq

On July 31, 2007, Clyburn said in a broadcast interview that it would be a "real big problem" for the Democratic party if General Petraeus issued a positive report in September, as it would split the Democratic caucus on whether to continue to fund the Iraq War. While this soundbite caused some controversy, the full quote was, in reference to 47 member Blue Dog caucus, "I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us."[20]

2008 presidential election

Throughout most of the 2008 presidential primary elections, Clyburn, a superdelegate, remained uncommitted.

He denounced Bill Clinton's remarks deprecating Barack Obama's win - with a clear majority - in the South Carolina primary (January, 2008). Clinton had belittled Obama's victory, comparing it to Rev. Jesse Jackson's win in the 1988 primary election.[21]. "Black people are incensed all over this," said Clyburn. President Clinton responded campaign "played the race card on me," denying any racial tone in the comment[22].

Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency. "When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar," Clyburn said. "I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation."[21]

Clyburn finally endorsed Obama on June 3, after Obama secured enough convention delegates in the South Dakota primary to secure his party's nomination.[23].


  1. ^ Schatz, Amy (April 29, 2009). "Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC". Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124105025793571073.html. Retrieved 2009-08-27.  
  2. ^ http://www.thestate.com/463/story/67142.html
  3. ^ Saxon, Wolf (March 23, 2004). "John C. West, Crusading South Carolina Governor, Dies at 81". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/23/business/john-c-west-crusading-south-carolina-governor-dies-at-81.html?scp=1&sq=%22John%20C.%20West%22%20%22south%20carolina%22&st=cse. Retrieved 2009-08-27.  
  4. ^ South Carolina 2008 General Election Results, 21 November 2008, http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/8562/13981/en/summary.html, retrieved 2009-02-26  
  5. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 7". 2005-01-06. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll007.xml. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  
  6. ^ 2007 Vote Ratings
  7. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn
  8. ^ Clyburn bill would extend healthcare
  9. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Health Issues
  10. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Abortion Issues
  11. ^ Education Advocates Give Funding a Boost 20 December 2001
  12. ^ The Daily WhipLine 17 April 2008
  13. ^ The Daily WhipLine 18 July 2007
  14. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Education
  15. ^ Jim Clyburn on Jobs
  16. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Labor
  17. ^ America’s Energy Future 11 July 2008
  18. ^ Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Environmental Issues
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ "Clyburn: Positive Report by Petraeus Could Split House Democrats on War". The Washington Post. 2007-07-30. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/30/AR2007073001380.html. Retrieved 2009-05-12.  
  21. ^ a b Black Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton’s Remarks New York Times April 24, 2008
  22. ^ Bill Clinton Irritated by Race-Card Questions New York Times April 24, 2008
  23. ^ Steady Stream of superdelegates pushed Obama over top CNN June 3, 2008.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robin Tallon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 6th congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bob Menendez
New Jersey
Chairman of House Democratic Caucus
Succeeded by
Rahm Emanuel
Preceded by
Roy Blunt
House Majority Whip
Succeeded by


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

James Enos "Jim" Clyburn (born July 21, 1940) is an American politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives for South Carolina's 6th congressional district. He is a Democrat and currently serves as the House Majority Whip.


  • Today President Bush has failed the American people and especially people of color. Despite the lip service he and his party have given in recent weeks to building racial unity, his latest action seeks to perpetuate the current effects of past discrimination. ... President Bush's decision to join this misguided attempt to resegregate our public institutions is regrettable.
  • Has he paid his dues? Is he black enough? ... John Lewis and I were out there marching and organizing sit-ins back in the '60s so that his children and my children would not have to do it. ... We would have been failures if [Obama] had to do the same things we did.

About Jim Clyburn

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