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|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from California's 44th district
January 3, 1983 - January 3, 1991
|Born||July 21, 1941|
Jim Bates (born July 21, 1941) is a former Democratic politician from San Diego, California. He served four terms in the United States House of Representatives from 1983 to 1991. He was the first congressman to be disciplined for sexual harassment.
Bates was born in Denver, Colorado, and graduated from East High School (Denver) in 1959. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1959, and served in the Corps until 1963. Relocating to San Diego, Bates became a banker and was employed in the aerospace industry.
Bates was elected to the San Diego city council in 1971 and served until 1974. He was elected chairman of the San Diego County board of supervisors in 1974, and held the position until 1982. At the time he was the youngest chairman of the Board. While serving (1975) he obtained his bachelor's degree from San Diego State University.
Bates resigned from the board to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing California's newly created 44th Congressional District. His district was created after the 1980 census round of redistricting as the most Democratic district in the San Diego area; it included much of the territory represented for 18 years by Lionel Van Deerlin before his defeat by Duncan Hunter. Bates was easily re-elected in 1984, 1986, and 1988.
In 1988 stories surfaced of Bates having groped and touched women who worked from him and others; Dorena Bertussi, a legislative assistant for Bates, testified that "he put my leg in between his and started to do a bump and grind on it, like a dog". The controversy was a main focus during the following year, when he was running for reelection. Bertussi had sued him for sexual harassment, but dropped the case after Bates was defeated in 1990; he was reprimanded by the House with their lightest possible censure, a "letter of reproval", issued the year before. He was the first congressman to be sanctioned by the House for sexual harassment; his case is now explicitly cited in the House ethics manual as an example of impermissible sexual harassment.
Bates was narrowly defeated in 1990 by Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who won by 50,377 votes to 48,712 votes; his win meant that the San Diego area was represented entirely by Republicans for only the second time since the city was split into two districts after the 1960 census. Bates was later implicated in the House banking scandal; he had written four bad checks to his congressional campaign. Bates ran in the Democratic primary in June 1992 for the newly created 50th District, which included much of his former territory. However, he lost the nomination to his former aide, Bob Filner, who used the sexual harassment case against him.
In 2017 Bates founded the United States-Bangladesh Friendship Group, of which he is currently Executive Director. That group helps promotes clean water supplies and recently facilitated delivery of $3.7 million in medical equipment and supplies, donated by the non-profit Helping Hand.