Washington, DC – Jim Graham, the 71 year old former four term D.C. Council member, clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren and special events promoter has passed away.
An immigrant son of Scottish immigrants without high school diplomas, Graham went on to graduate from Michigan State University and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Michigan Law School and an L.L.M from Georgetown University Law Center. He was a clerk for Chief Justice Earl Warren and served as a staff attorney to the U.S. Senate Government Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Abe Ribicoff [D] of Connecticut. He was naturalized as an American citizen.
Graham was also executive director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic. A gay community pioneer during the darkest days of the heart wrenching AIDS epidemic, the bow-tied activist was the second openly gay elected official in DC after David Catania.
Graham served four terms on the District’s Council and was a force for constituent services and tenant rights. No one moved Ward 1 more into the vibrant urban life hub that it is today than Jim Graham. He possessed nuanced skills on the campaign trail and in community service. At his height, Graham found common ground among a wide array of competing groups with competing agendas. Among his many accomplishments as a councilman was the restoration of the Adams Morgan Day Festival as an alcohol free event that focused on food, arts and entertainment that highlighted the neighborhood’s businesses.
Regarding his election and service as a Councilman, Graham once quipped “I feel like I’ve died and gone to Heaven.” Community service was the passion of his life.
Graham died Sunday of complications related to an intestinal infection. Services have not been announced.