Jim is a native Kansan, born in Norton, and, after living several years in Nebraska and Colorado, he returned to Kansas, where he graduated from Greensburg High School in 1962. He attended Kansas State Teachers College and taught for a year at Emporia High School (the building now being renovated for a convention hotel). After beginning graduate school at University of Missouri, Kansas City, he was “draft-propeled” into the U.S. Air Force. The G.I. Bill enabled him to attend the University of Kansas School of Law and, on graduation, he opened a law office in Ottawa, Kansas. He was elected Franklin County Attorney where his duties included advising the board of county commissioners when the commissioners were just beginning efforts to restore the Washburn-designed court house. Upon completion of his term, he was appointed executive director of the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association, which required him to spend considerable time as a lobbyist in the Kansas Capitol Building, as did several subsequent positions.