Never Give Up: A Profile of John James

Some say the third time’s the charm. Former U.S. Army Captain John James certainly thinks so, having announced his candidacy a few weeks ago for the U.S. House of Representatives serving Michigan’s newly-formed 10th district. Making his third attempt at a congressional seat, James believes that he and the Republican Party have the answer to the grievances of millions of Michiganders after almost a decade of rule by Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow. 

James is more than a hopeful politician; he is a heroic figure for his military service, strong commitment to higher education, and impact on the Detroit community through his family business. James is the type of American worth showcasing during Black History Month; his commitment to conservatism in a left-wing heartland, just like his time serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, speaks volumes of his resilience and patriotism. 

A Michigander from the start, James was raised in a suburb of Detroit. After attending Brother Rice High School, James pursued his bachelor’s degree from West Point and served for eight years in the Army as an Apache helicopter pilot, earning a Combat Action Badge and two Air Medals. James then returned to higher education for an MBA from our very own Ross School of Business and for a Masters in Supply Chain Management and Information Systems from Penn State. James’ dedication to his academic and military endeavors are two of the many reasons to honor him during Black History Month.  

James is more than a hopeful politician; he is a heroic figure for his military service, strong commitment to higher education, and impact on the Detroit community.

James is the son of an extremely successful businessman who, after fleeing the oppressive culture of the American South during the mid-20th century, established James Group International. James became president of his father’s supply chain management company that came to dominate the local economy, helping Michigan automotive superpowers such as Ford, GM, and Chrysler deal with exporting their vehicles. He also serves on the board of the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the market share of supply companies serving minority communities.  James has effectively represented both public and private American interests throughout his lifetime.

James has previously articulated how his upbringing with a father that escaped the Jim Crow South and served in Vietnam taught him the value of “free enterprise and free will” instead of handouts and socialism. One of his biggest goals throughout both his campaigns and while endorsing a 2020 Trump victory was “winning back a generation turning to socialism on our campuses.” As a college student at the bastion of liberalism that is Michigan, James’ claim resonates deeply with me.  

There are a multitude of reasons why James’ new campaign, one that signals a fresh commitment to representing Michiganders in the political arena, should resonate with you. James would be the first Black Republican Representative from Michigan if elected in November; he recently mentioned that he wants to achieve that milestone “not because the party is perfect, but because I can think for myself.” Indeed, James was an outspoken critic of former president Trump when he made comments about “shithole countries” and other distasteful statements. He has the guts to stand up to the GOP when it needs a reminder of how to appropriately behave as a national leader.

While fresh off two unsuccessful Senate campaigns, this House campaign is different. A CLF poll already had James ahead of two Democratic incumbents, Haley Stevens and Andy Levin, before they announced their primary election face-off in the same district. This leaves James to compete with Democrats in the newly drawn 10th district: Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian-American lawyer, and Angela Rogensues, a Warren City council member. Neither of these candidates have the name recognition that drives James this campaign, nor the backing from such influential figures as Kevin McCarthy for a spot in the House.

James wants to achieve that milestone “not because the party is perfect, but because I can think for myself.”

James comes from a family that defines the American Dream; it’s an honor to have him represent Republican ideals on the national stage and follow in the footsteps of men like Hiram Revels and Thurgood Marshall. This Black History Month, we at the Michigan Review encourage our readers to read up on the conservative Black Americans that have cultivated better and more equal American society.  I, for one, am looking forward to the race to the House that James has set his sights on for the upcoming election. 


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About Lindsay Keiser

Lindsay Keiser is a junior studying political science and astronomy. She also serves as the editor in chief of the Michigan Journal of Political Science and writes for Young Voices. In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights and participating in her sorority.