‘The View from Washington, D.C.: A Conversation with Congressman James McGovern,’ to be Held April 23 at UMass Amherst

James P. McGovern
James P. McGovern

AMHERST, Mass. – U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern will present “The View from Washington, D.C.” on Tuesday, April 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room in Goodell Hall. The event is free and open to the public. The talk is sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Public Policy.

McGovern, D-Worcester, represents the 2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes Amherst and Northampton. He was elected to the House in 1996 and is currently the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. He was appointed to the committee in 2001, named ranking member in 2017, and became chairman in 2019.

A Worcester native, McGovern grew up around the corner from his current home on Burncoat Street. In seventh grade, he volunteered on the 1972 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. George McGovern—no relation. Later, he managed McGovern’s second presidential campaign in Massachusetts, delivering his 1984 nominating speech during the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

McGovern attended American University in Washington, D.C. where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1981 and a master’s degree in public administration in 1984. He worked his way through college as an intern in Sen. McGovern’s office.

From 1982-96 he worked for U.S. Rep. John Joseph Moakley, D-South Boston, serving as a staff assistant, press secretary and legislative director. In 1989, Moakley asked McGovern to be the lead staffer in the investigation of the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. He exposed that the murders were committed by the U.S.-backed Salvadoran military, leading to a major shift in U.S. foreign policy.

It was while working in Moakley’s office that McGovern met his wife, Lisa Murray McGovern, who was an aide to U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, D-Mass. The McGoverns were married in 1989 and have two children, Patrick and Molly.

McGovern is co-chair of the bi-partisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, which investigates international human rights abuses and recommends how the U.S. should foster respect for democratic values abroad. He authored the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, which allows the President to punish foreign officials who the U.S. identifies as corrupt or human rights abusers.