James Bilbray

James Hubert Bilbray (born May 19, 1938) is an American politician, lawyer and postal executive from Nevada.

James H. Bilbray
James Bilbray official photo (2).jpeg
Acting Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
In office
December 2014 – December 8, 2016
PresidentBarack Obama
Postmaster GeneralMegan Brennan
Preceded byMickey D. Barnett
Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
In office
2012 – December 2014
PresidentBarack Obama
Postmaster GeneralMegan Brennan
Preceded byMickey D. Barnett
Member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service
In office
2006 – December 8, 2016
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Postmaster GeneralJohn E. Potter
Patrick R. Donahoe
Megan Brennan
Preceded byJohn F. Walsh
Member of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission
In office
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
SecretaryDonald Rumsfeld
Robert Gates
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Preceded byHarry Reid
Succeeded byJohn Ensign
Member of the Nevada Senate from Clark County
In office
January 1981 – January 1987
Preceded bymulti-member district
Succeeded bymulti-member district
Personal details
James Hubert Bilbray

(1938-05-19) May 19, 1938 (age 82)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Michaelene Bilbray
ResidenceLas Vegas, Nevada
EducationAmerican University (BA, JD)
ProfessionPolitician, Lawyer
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Army Reserve
Nevada Army National Guard
Years of service1955–1956
1957–1963 (reserve)

Early lifeEdit

Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bilbray graduated from Las Vegas High School and attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, from 1959 to 1960. He received a B.A. in government and public administration from American University in Washington, D.C., in 1962 and a J.D. from the Washington College of Law in 1964. He served in the Nevada Army National Guard from 1955 to 1956 and in the United States Army Reserve from 1957 to 1963.

Political careerEdit

James Bilbray

Bilbray practiced law and was deputy district attorney of Clark County, Nevada, from 1965 to 1967. He was then chief legal counsel in the Clark County juvenile court from 1967 to 1968 and was an alternate municipal judge in Las Vegas from 1978 to 1980. He became licensed to practice law before the Nevada Gaming Commission and the Nevada Gaming Control Board in 1970. A Democrat, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1972 against conservative incumbent Walter Baring, a fellow Democrat who was disliked by his party's establishment. Bilbray won the primary and was expected to win the general election, but Baring surprised him by endorsing the Republican nominee, David Towell, who upset Bilbray in a close race. Bilbray made a comeback in 1980 when he was elected to the Nevada State Senate, where he served from 1981 to 1987, and also became chairman of the Taxation Committee and a member of the Judiciary Committee. He successfully ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 for the seat being vacated by Harry Reid, who made a successful run for the U.S. Senate in the same election. He served as chairman of the Small Business Subcommittee on Taxation, Tourism and Procurement and was also a member of the Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence committees.

Bilbray lost his re-election campaign in the 1994 Republican Revolution, losing to Republican opponent John Ensign by less than 1,400 votes. Bilbray appeared to be well on his way to reelection until news surfaced that reports surfaced that one of his aides stood to make a huge profit from lands legislation sponsored by Bilbray.[1]

After leaving Congress, Bilbray joined the law firm of Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner and Renshaw as Of Counsel in 1996 where he has specialized in dealing with local, state and federal issues. In 2001, he received an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for his work in state and federal government. He was appointed a commissioner on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission and in 2006 was appointed a member of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service by President George W. Bush for a term ending in 2015. He currently resides in Las Vegas. James H. Bilbray Elementary School in Las Vegas is named in his honor.

Personal lifeEdit

Bilbray is the father of 2014 Congressional candidate Erin Bilbray and cousin to former Republican congressman Brian Bilbray of California. His daughter, Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod, currently serves in the Nevada Assembly.


  1. ^ Wasserman, David; Larry J. Sabato (October 5, 2006). "October Surprise! (And a Leadership Demise?)". Crystal Ball. University of Virginia Center for Politics. Retrieved June 22, 2009. Nevada Rep. James Bilbray (D) was felled after it was revealed days before the election that his aide stood to profit millions from lands legislation he had sponsored

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Harry Reid
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's 1st congressional district

January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1995
Succeeded by
John Ensign