Birthdate: July 21, 1940
Birth Place: Sumter, SC, United States
Residence: Columbia, SC
Religion: African Methodist Episcopal
First Elected: 1992
State: South Carolina
District: District 6
Jim Clyburn was born and raised in Sumter, S.C., and now lives in Columbia. He earned a bachelor's degree from South Carolina State College and a law degree from the University of South Carolina.
He worked as a teacher, an employment counselor and executive director of the South Carolina Commission for Farm Workers. He also worked for Gov. John West, who appointed him state human affairs commissioner in 1974, a post he held until his run for Congress.
Clyburn was elected to the U.S. House in 1992, becoming the first black South Carolina congressman since Reconstruction. He was elected Democratic freshman class president, a post he chose to share with then-Rep. Eva Clayton.
Clyburn was named majority whip in 2006, becoming the first South Carolinian and the second black lawmaker in history to serve in that role. He served in that position until 2011.
Clyburn and his wife, Emily, have three daughters.
Jim Clyburn was among those singled out for praise by President Barack Obama in March 2010 after the House passed the 2010 health care reform bill.
Clyburn has repeatedly referred to health care reform as the civil rights issue of the 21st century. He has said states' efforts to sue the federal government over the law were similar to attempts to derail civil rights nearly 50 years ago. He has blasted South Carolina's GOP leaders who complain the law will increase costs to the state. Clyburn has predicted that will not happen.
Clyburn's 6th District is the state's only majority black district, stretching from Columbia to Charleston and north into the Pee Dee. He is running unopposed in 2012.
In 2012, Clyburn and GOP South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham threw their support behind an effort to make the deepening of the Charleston Harbor a federal priority. That work paid off in July 2012, when the Obama administration announced that Charleston was among the ports where work would be expedited.
Also in July 2012, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that he was setting aside $250 million for a national expansion of a program to help rural electric cooperative customers take out USDA-funded loans to make energy upgrades and pay back the loans through their monthly utility savings _ a program championed by Clyburn.
South Carolina's 2010 Democratic primary briefly thrust Clyburn into the national spotlight when his party nominated Alvin Greene, a black, unemployed military veteran, as its candidate for the U.S. Senate. The Associated Press discovered after the primary that Greene faced a criminal obscenity charge. Clyburn said state and federal authorities needed to probe whether forces seeking to discredit South Carolina Democrats planted Greene.
After Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009, Clyburn said, "This is a victory for democracy, for all Americans who see their hopes and dreams in Barack Obama, who now feel that they have a voice."
Clyburn co-sponsored a resolution formally reproaching fellow South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson for yelling "You lie!" during Obama's health care speech to Congress in September 2009. The resolution passed on a mainly party-line vote a week after the outburst.
Clyburn spent much of the first half of 2009 sparring with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford over his vocal opposition to the approximately $800 billion economic stimulus package.
Sanford refused for five months to accept $700 million set aside for the state, but in June 2009 the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Sanford to take the money.
Much of the money was meant for schools, and during the months-long quarrel Clyburn asserted that Sanford was refusing the funds because the governor was "anti-public education."
Clyburn asked a nationwide housing advocacy group to bring its mortgage-restructuring program to Columbia. The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America visited the state in mid-March 2009 _ its third stop on its "Save the Dream Tour."
Clyburn has supported building a bridge and a road through one of South Carolina's poorest rural areas. He also wants to expand the state's tourism industry through the creation of heritage corridors that highlight and protect the Gullah-Geechee culture and the state's Civil and Revolutionary war sites.
Source: Associated Press