James Shannon

For other uses, see James Shannon (disambiguation).
James Shannon
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1979  January 3, 1985
Preceded by Paul Tsongas
Succeeded by Chester G. Atkins
Attorney General of Massachusetts
In office
January 1987  January 1991
Preceded by Francis X. Bellotti
Succeeded by Scott Harshbarger
Personal details
Born James Michael Shannon
(1952-04-04) April 4, 1952
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University (B.A.)
The George Washington University Law School (J.D.)

James Michael "Jim" Shannon (born April 4, 1952), is a Democratic politician from Massachusetts. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1979 to 1985, and later as the Massachusetts Attorney General.


Shannon was born in Methuen, Massachusetts on April 4, 1952 and grew up in Lawrence.[1] He graduated from Phillips Academy in 1959 and received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1973.[2][3] He earned a law degree at The George Washington University Law School in 1975 and practiced law in Lawrence.[4][5]

In 1970 and 1971 Shannon was an intern in the office of Congressman F. Bradford Morse.[6] From 1973 to 1975 he served on the staff of Congressman Michael J. Harrington.[7] In 1976 he ran for the Massachusetts State Senate, losing the Democratic primary to incumbent William X. Wall by only eight votes.[8][9]

He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1978, succeeding Paul E. Tsongas, who ran successfully for the United States Senate. Shannon was reelected in 1980 and 1982.

In 1981, he was selected to be one of the first Young Leaders of the French-American Foundation.[10]

When Senator Tsongas announced his retirement in 1984, Shannon entered the race to succeed him. He was defeated in the Democratic primary by Lieutenant Governor John F. Kerry, who went on to win the seat. Shannon served out the rest of his term in the House, leaving office in January 1985.

In 1986, he was elected Attorney General of Massachusetts, defeating Edward F. Harrington and serving from 1987 to 1991.[11][12] He was defeated for re-election in 1990 by Scott Harshbarger in the Democratic primary.[13]

In 2000 Shannon led Bill Bradley's presidential campaign in Massachusetts and was a Bradley delegate to Democratic National Convention.[14][15]

He was elected president and Chief Executive Officer of the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in 2002, and served until 2014.[16]


  1. Anna L. Brownson, Charles Bruce Brownson, Congressional Staff Directory, 1982, page 56
  2. Phillips Academy Andover, Program, Dedication of Peter Drench Park at Isham Field, May 24, 2014, page 4
  3. Johns Hopkins Magazine online, Class Notes, Fall 2013, retrieved August 2, 2014
  4. American Bankers Association, ABA Banking Journal, Volume 74, 1982, page 70
  5. Congressional Staff Directory, Advance Locator for Capitol Hill, 1983, page 61
  6. Lowell Sun, Young Lawrence Attorney Seeks to Unseat Sen. Wall, March 9, 1976
  7. Stuart E. Weisberg, Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, 2009, page 171
  8. Lowell Sun, Files for Recount, September 22, 1976
  9. Lowell Sun, Legendary Sen. Wall Wins Razor-Thin Victory, September 15, 1976
  10. "Young Leaders". French-American Foundation. Retrieved 2015-10-28.
  11. Elsa C. Arnett, Harvard Crimson, Attorney General, November 3, 1986
  12. United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Biography, Edward F. Harrington, retrieved August 2, 2014
  13. Andrea Lamberti, MIT Tech, Silber, Weld Win, September 21, 1990
  14. Seth Gitell, Going for Broke: Al Gore is Running Out of Money. Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid., December 17–24, 1999
  15. Elizabeth Mehren, Los Angeles Times, New England's Appeal Not Equal to the Sum of Its Delegates, March 3, 2000
  16. National Fire Protection Association, The Pro Board Honors NFPA President James M. Shannon With Donation to the Fire Protection Research Foundation, June 19, 2014
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Paul E. Tsongas
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Chester G. Atkins
Legal offices
Preceded by
Francis X. Bellotti
Attorney General of Massachusetts
1987 1991
Succeeded by
Scott Harshbarger
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