U.S. Senator from Kentucky
On November 3, 1998, after a very competitive, very hard-fought campaign, Jim Bunning was elected to serve as U.S. Senator for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. People who knew Bunning well were not surprised by his victory. Competition has been the hallmark of Bunning’s life. And he is no stranger to winning either.
As a youngster, Bunning fell in love with baseball and even then, he displayed a competitive spirit and a willingness to work hard. That combination carried him on to a highly successful 17-year career as a Major League baseball player.
Pitching primarily for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies, Bunning accumulated a record of achievement that eventually won him a seat in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the second pitcher in history (Cy Young was the first) to record 1,000 strikeouts and 100 wins in both the National and American Leagues. When he retired in 1971, Bunning was number 2 on the all time strikeout list----second only to Walter Johnson.
The same competitive spirit that made Jim Bunning a Hall of Famer in baseball has also served him well in public office. In 1977, Bunning decided it was time for him to give something back to his community and he ran for and won a seat on the Fort Thomas, Kentucky, City Council. Two years later, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate and during his first term, he became Republican Leader. In 1986, Bunning was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for the 4th District of Kentucky and he served in that capacity for 12 years.
In the House of Representatives, Jim Bunning’s hard work and active involvement in economic issues quickly won him the respect of his colleagues and a coveted seat on the influential Ways and Means Committee, making him the first Kentuckian in 20 years and the first Republican Kentuckian this century to serve on this powerful committee.
As Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, Bunning established himself as one of the House’s foremost defenders of Social Security and one of the leading spokesmen for Social Security fairness and reform. Most recently Bunning has been the leading proponent of a proposal to wall off budget surpluses to keep them safe for Social Security reform. Bunning also played a key role in the passage of landmark legislation making Social Security an independent agency and was the author of successful legislation to raise the unfair "earnings limit" for seniors.
In the House Bunning also served on the Budget Committee for eight years and played an active role in the drafting and passage of the landmark, 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement and tax cut legislation.
In the 107th Congress, Jim Bunning has been assigned to the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Senator Bunning's subcommittee assignments for the Senate Armed Services Committee are: Subcommittee on Airland, Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support and the Subcommittee on Seapower. His subcommittee assignments for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs are: Subcommittee on Economic Policy of which he is chairman as well the the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and the Subcommittee Securities, which oversees banking insurance, securities and consumer protection.
Although his election to the U.S. Senate and induction into the Hall of Fame stand out as two of the special moments in his life, the all-time high point in his life was his marriage to Mary Catherine Theis in 1952. Together, Jim and Mary have raised 9 children and are the proud grandparents of 35 wonderful grandchildren.
Jim and Mary are active members of the St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Jim graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1953 with a degree in Economics.
Appointed by the majority leader of the Senate.