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Jim Langevin

Jim Langevin

(b. April 22, 1964)

Born April 22, 1964, Langevin is the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. At the age of 16, Langevin was injured while working with the Warwick, Rhode Island Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program. A gun accidentally discharged and a bullet struck Langevin, leaving him paralyzed. The tremendous outpouring of support from his community inspired Langevin to give something back and enter public service.

Langevin first ran for office in 1986, when he was elected a Delegate to Rhode Island’s Constitutional Convention and served as its secretary. Two years later, he won election to the Rhode Island House of Representatives. In 1994, Langevin became the nation’s youngest Secretary of State. He transformed the office into “the people’s partner in government” and took on the challenge of reforming Rhode Island’s outdated election system, also establishing the state’s Public Information Center.

In 1998, Langevin won re-election to his second term as Secretary of State, achieving the largest plurality of any general officer in this century, and in 2000, he made a successful run for the U.S. House of Representatives, where he has served the Second Congressional District of Rhode Island ever since.

One of Langevin’s top priorities has been advancing the science of stem cell research. Recognized as a national leader, he championed the passage of H.R. 3, the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, and its predecessor H.R. 810, which call for the expansion of the federal policy on embryonic stem cell research.

Langevin has also advocated universal health care. His plan, the American Health Benefits Program (AHBP), first introduced in 2004, is based on the existing Federal Employee Health Benefits Program and would offer affordable health coverage to all Americans. The AHBP is a proposed system of managed competition intended to open a dialogue to explore new ways of thinking about health insurance.

Continuing his dedication to health care, Langevin celebrated the passage of the Lifespan Respite Care Act in 2006, after four years of work. The act will establish a program to assist family caregivers in accessing affordable and high-quality respite care and create a National Resource Center on Lifespan Respite Care.

Related Library Resources

Profiles of Other Influential Americans with Disabilities