University of Idaho logo

Special Collections & Archives

Manuscript Group 400


Biography of James A. McClure

James Albertus McClure was born on December 27, 1924, in Payette, Idaho. McClure served in the United States Navy during World War II, earned a J.D. degree from the University of Idaho in 1950, and subsequently returned to Payette where he practiced law with his father, W.R. McClure, and served as city attorney before being elected Payette County prosecuting attorney. A Republican, McClure was sent to the Idaho state senate for three terms, 1961-1966, and in the latter year was elected to the United States Congress from the lst District of Idaho (the northern panhandle and the southwestern quarter of the state), being reelected in 1968 and 1970.

In 1972, Idaho elected McClure to the United States Senate, and reelected him in 1978 and 1984. His service in both House and Senate reflected the public lands and natural resource issues of interest to his constituents. His committee assignments included the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee; the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which he was chairman 1981-1987 and thereafter the ranking minority member; the Interior Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee; the Senate Rules Committee; the Senate Republican Steering Committee; and the Helsinki Commission on Human Rights. In 1987 he served on the Senate Select Committee to investigate the Iran-Contra Affair.

McClure married the former Louise Miller of Nezperce, Idaho, a fellow student at the University of Idaho, and the couple raised three children, Marilyn, Kenneth, and David.

McClure declined to run for reelection in 1990 and upon his retirement from the Senate he entered a partnership with his former legislative director and administrative assistant, forming McClure, Gerard, & Neuenschwander, Inc., a Washington, D.C. consulting firm. Senator and Louise McClure made their retirement home in Boise, Idaho.