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Jim Cooper


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Bob Clement

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 4, 1995
Preceded by Al Gore
Succeeded by Van Hilleary

Born July 19, 1954 (1954-07-19) (age 55)
Nashville, Tennessee
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Martha Hayes
Children Mary, Jamie, Hayes[1]
Residence Shelbyville, Tennessee
(1983-c. 1995)
Nashville, Tennessee
(c. 1995-present)
Alma mater University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Oxford University
Harvard University
Occupation attorney
Religion Episcopalian

James Hayes Shofner "Jim" Cooper (born July 19, 1954) is a politician from Tennessee, currently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state's fifth congressional district, based in Nashville. He is a Democrat, and previously represented the neighboring fourth congressional district from 1983 to 1995. He belongs to the Blue Dog Democrats.

Contents

Early life

Cooper was born in Nashville and raised in Shelbyville, Tennessee.[1] He is the son of former governor Prentice Cooper. Cooper attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was a member of Alpha Sigma of the Chi Psi fraternity and a recipient of the Morehead-Cain Scholarship, he obtained a B.A. in history and economics. Cooper then went on to win the Rhodes Scholarship to the University of Oxford earning a B.A./M.A. in politics and economics in 1977. In 1980, he received a J.D. from the Harvard University School of Law.

Fourth district

In 1982, he won the Democratic primary for the 4th District, which had been created when Tennessee gained a district after the 1980 census. The new 4th ran diagonally across the state, from heavily Republican areas near Tri-Cities, Knoxville and Chattanooga to the fringes of the Nashville suburbs. The district stretched across five media markets (the Tri-Cities, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Huntsville, Alabama), so the 1982 race had much of the feel of a statewide race. Due to the district's demographics, many felt whoever won it would almost instantly become a statewide figure with a high potential for election to statewide office in the future. Cooper defeated Cynthia "Cissy" Baker, an editor in Washington for the Cable News Network and daughter of Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker[2] with 66 percent of the vote and was reelected five more times with little substantive opposition, running unopposed in 1986 and 1988. This was somewhat surprising, given the district's volatile demographics. The district, then as now, was split between areas with strong Democratic and Republican voting histories. Indeed, prior to Cooper's election, much of the eastern portion of the 4th hadn't been represented by a Democrat since the Civil War. However, the size of the district makes it extremely difficult to unseat an incumbent.

In 1985 Cooper married with Martha Hays of Gulfport, Mississippi.[1]

Cooper generally had a moderate voting record as the 4th District's congressman. For instance, in 1990, Cooper was one of the only three House Democrats that voted against the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.[3] On several occasions, however, he found himself having to explain his votes to his somewhat conservative constituents.

In 1992 he was co-author of a bipartisan health care reform plan, not including employer mandates to force universal coverage. This met strong opposition from Hillary Clinton. In 1993 Cooper said that Clinton was getting pulled too far to the left.[4]

1994 Senate run

In 1994, Cooper ran for the United States Senate for the seat left open when Al Gore was elected Vice President, but was soundly defeated by Republican attorney and actor Fred Thompson, receiving just under 40 percent of the vote. It was a bad year overall for Democrats in Tennessee, as Republicans captured Tennessee's other Senate seat (in the person of Bill Frist) as well as the governorship (in the person of Don Sundquist). The 4th also fell to the Republicans (in the person of Van Hilleary) as the party gained a majority of the state's congressional delegation for only the second time since Reconstruction. Cooper then moved to Nashville and entered private business, also serving as a professor at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.

Return to congress

Fifth District Congressman Bob Clement ran for Thompson's Senate seat in 2002 after Thompson opted not to run for a second full term, creating the first open-seat race in the 5th District since 1897 (when it was numbered the 6th District). Cooper entered the Democratic primary along with several other prominent local Democrats. Republicans had long since given up on a district they hadn't won since 1874, and Republicans haven't made a serious bid for the 5th since 1972. It was generally understood that whoever won the Democratic primary was all but assured of victory in November. Cooper won the primary with 44 percent of the vote, all but assuring his return to Congress after an eight-year absence. Cooper defeated opponent Craig Schelske in the general election by an overwhelming margin; he was handily reelected in 2004 against a Republican who disavowed his party's national ticket.

In the 2006 election, Cooper faced Tom Kovach, the state public relations coordinator for the Constitution Party, who ran as a Republican since the Constitution Party did not have ballot access in Tennessee at the time. No one opposed Kovach for the Republican nomination. Cooper defeated Kovach by 41 points. Given the 5th's heavy Democratic tilt, it is very unlikely that Cooper will face substantive Republican opposition in the foreseeable future.

Cooper is the only Tennessean on the Armed Services Committee. He also serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Despite the different policy affiliation, he became one of Barack Obama's earliest Congressional endorsers.[5] Cooper opposed an $819 billion economic stimulus plan that passed the House in 2009,[6] but ended up voting for the revised $787 billion final package.[7] He is one of only a few Blue Dog members who don’t seek earmarks.[8][9]

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Committee assignments

References

  1. ^ a b c "Congressman Jim Cooper". Official House site. http://www.cooper.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=49. Retrieved 2010-01-01.  
  2. ^ "The House: Political Genes and Reaganomics". Time (magazine). Oct. 04, 1982. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,925782,00.html.  
  3. ^ "FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 123". Office of the Clerk. 22-May-1990. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/1990/roll123.xml#N. Retrieved 2 February 2008.  
  4. ^ BROOKS, DAVID (February 5, 2008). "The Cooper Concerns". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/opinion/05brooks.html?em&ex=1202446800&en=71fcb9a2bceb4c8b&ei=5087%0A. Retrieved 2008-02-02.  
  5. ^ Rodgers, John (July 18, 2008). "Cooper says Obama best choice to reform America". The City Paper. http://www.nashvillecitypaper.com/news.php?viewStory=61509.  
  6. ^ Theobald, Bill (2009-01-28). "Cooper one of few Democrats to vote against stimulus plan". WBIR-TV. Gannett News Service. http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=76211&catid=2. Retrieved 2009-02-02.  
  7. ^ Theobald, Bill (February 14, 2009). "Cooper changes vote, backs final stimulus bill". The Tennessean. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090214/NEWS02/902140352/1006/NEWS01. Retrieved 2009-02-15.  
  8. ^ Stern, Christopher (May 6, 2009). "‘Blue Dog’ Democrats Ask for Billions in Spending". Bloomberg.com. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aY7bPgMt0tNA&refer=home. Retrieved 2009-05-11.  
  9. ^ Theobald, Bill (5/7/2009). "Oak Ridge tops list of TN senators' special requests". WBIR-TV. Gannett. http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=86966&catid=2.  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Albert A. Gore, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 4th congressional district

1983–1995
Succeeded by
Van Hilleary
Preceded by
Bob Clement
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 5th congressional district

2003 – present
Incumbent
Representatives to the 98th–103rd & 108th–111th United States Congresses from Tennessee
98th Senate: H. Baker, Jr. | J. Sasser House: J. Quillen | J. Duncan, Sr. | E. Jones | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | A. Gore, Jr. | B. Boner | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist
99th Senate: J. Sasser | A. Gore, Jr. House: J. Quillen | J. Duncan, Sr. | E. Jones | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | B. Boner | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist | B. Gordon
100th Senate: J. Sasser | A. Gore, Jr. House: J. Quillen | J. Duncan, Sr. | E. Jones | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | B. Boner | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist | B. Gordon
101st Senate: J. Sasser | A. Gore, Jr. House: J. Quillen | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist | B. Gordon | B. Clement | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner
102nd Senate: J. Sasser | A. Gore, Jr. House: J. Quillen | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist | B. Gordon | B. Clement | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner
103rd Senate: J. Sasser | H. Mathews House: J. Quillen | H. Ford, Sr. | M. Lloyd | J. Cooper | D. Sundquist | B. Gordon | B. Clement | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner
108th Senate: B. Frist | L. Alexander House: B. Gordon | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner | Z. Wamp | H. Ford, Jr. | W. Jenkins | J. Cooper | M. Blackburn | L. Davis
109th Senate: B. Frist | L. Alexander House: B. Gordon | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner | Z. Wamp | H. Ford, Jr. | W. Jenkins | J. Cooper | M. Blackburn | L. Davis
110th Senate: L. Alexander | B. Corker House: B. Gordon | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner | Z. Wamp | J. Cooper | M. Blackburn | L. Davis | S. Cohen | D. Davis
111th Senate: L. Alexander | B. Corker House: B. Gordon | J. Duncan, Jr. | J. Tanner | Z. Wamp | J. Cooper | M. Blackburn | L. Davis | S. Cohen | P. Roe

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