Jim joined the U.S. Navy Medical Corps in 1968, and is a proud veteran. As a Lieutenant Commander and psychiatrist, Jim was assigned to the Long Beach Naval Station in California, where he provided psychiatric assistance to returning Vietnam veterans. Jim witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the war, many of whom returned with extensive physical injuries as well as the hidden wounds of war such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This experience, in large part, led Jim to pursue a career in politics as he sought to change the policies that led this country into the Vietnam War.
In the more than 14 years he served in the Washington State Legislature, Jim made access to high-quality health care for Washington residents, particularly veterans, one of his highest priorities. Jim led and supported numerous initiatives in the State Legislature to address the needs of veterans, a growing number of whom were coping at the time with their experiences in Vietnam.
Jim has been a vocal advocate of assisting homeless veterans, disabled veterans, and those seeking jobs when they return home to Washington State. He is a strong supporter of MEDEX Northwest, the University of Washington School Of Medicine’s Physicians’ Assistant Program. Since it was established in 1969, MEDEX Northwest has provided a professional career path for many returning veterans who have experience in medical care. The program has provided jobs for thousands of medics in the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI) region.
Veterans and U.S. Service Members
Throughout his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Jim has been a consistent supporter of addressing the growing needs of U.S. servicemen and women, especially when they return home. During the 110th and 111th Congresses, Jim supported several major pieces of legislation to expand assistance for veterans, including expanding access to veterans’ health care, increasing funding for veteran housing programs, and increasing funding for veterans’ caregivers, who provide critical support for men and women who need extra help as they adjust back to civilian life. Jim is also concerned about the need for further research and more effective treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), a signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jim is a leading voice for renewed investment in medical research for veterans, many of whom are exposed to unknown risks associated with cutting-edge technology and weaponry. Jim repeatedly has called on the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health to conduct research on the health effects of exposure to depleted uranium (DU).