Jesse Jackson Jr.
Rep Jesse Jackson JrRepresentative Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. began service in the United States House of Representatives on December 12, 1995, as he was sworn in as a member of the 104th Congress, the 91st African American ever elected to Congress.

Representative Jackson currently sits on the House Appropriations Committee, serving as the 5th ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education as well as the 2nd ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs. His leadership created the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health in 2001, hailed by many minority health experts as the most important civil rights legislation since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Representative Jackson also secured funding for the Institute of Medicine's 2002 report on health disparities, "Unequal Treatment.'

Prior to his congressional service, Representative Jackson served as the National Field Director of the National Rainbow Coalition. In this role, he instituted a national non-partisan program that successfully registered millions of new voters. He also created a voter education program to teach citizens the importance of participating in the political process, including how to use technology to win elections and more effectively participate in politics.

Born in the midst of the voting rights struggle on March 11, 1965, Representative Jackson spent his twenty-first birthday in a jail cell in Washington, D.C. for taking part in a protest against apartheid at the South African Embassy. He also demonstrated weekly in front of the South African Consulate in Chicago. Representative Jackson was on stage with Nelson Mandela during his historic speech following a 27-year imprisonment in Cape Town.

In 1987, Representative Jackson graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina A & T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management. Three years later, he earned a Master of Arts Degree in Theology from the Chicago Theological Seminary, and in 1993, received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois College of Law. He has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the Chicago Theological Seminary, Governors State University, North Carolina A & T State University, Charles R. Drew Univ. of Medicine and Science, Meharry Medical College and Morehouse School of Medicine. Representative Jackson has co-authored A More Perfect Union: Advancing New American Rights (2001) with Frank E. Watkins. He has also co-authored Legal Lynching II (2001), It's About the Money (1999) and Legal Lynching (1996).

Representative Jackson resides in the Second Congressional District of Illinois with his wife Sandi, daughter Jessica Donatella, and son Jesse L. Jackson, III.

Articles by Jesse Jackson, Jr.
June 5th 2006
Removing Obstacles From the Right to Vote
New York Times

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. argues that the most significant hurdle to fixing flawed elections is our lack of a constitutionally protected right to vote.

March 9th 2005
Securing the Right to Vote as a Citizenship Right

FairVote board member, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., argues that the electoral problems voters faced in 2004 were the result of a 'state's rights' voting system. To fix our voting process, he advocates we add a right to vote amendment to the U.S. Constitut

December 13th 2004
The Election Ran Smoothly, Didn't It?

Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., D-IL, argues that the lesson of 2004 is that our right to vote is not secure. We need a federal right to vote with standards and the enforcement of those standards by the attorney general of the United States, rather than the p

November 22nd 2003
Fighting For A Right To Vote Constitutional Amendment

Citing the 2000 voting debacle highlighted in Bush v. Gore, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., a FairVote board member, calls for a Constitutional right to vote.

November 19th 2001
For A Voting Rights Amendment
The Nation

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Advisory Committee

In 2008, FairVote established a new Advisory Board comprised initially of recent members of its Board of Directors. These leaders receive updates from FairVote about our progress and regularly provide comments and advice:

  • Nikolas Bowie, Yale undergraduate student
  • Erin Bowser, executive director of Environment Ohio 
  • Antonio Gonzalez, President of Southwest Voter Registration Ed. Project
  • Jesse Jackson Jr., Member of Congress
  • Laura Liswood, CEO of Council on Women's World Leaders
  • Nina Moseley, former executive director of Democracy South
  • Clay Mulford, chief operating officer of National Math and Science Initiative
  • Rashad Robinson, Director of media programs, GLAAD
  • Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms. Magazine