From serving our country to serving as a State Senator, James has spent his life upholding the highest standards of public service. We can count on him to always do the right thing.
James grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri. His dad served in combat and was wounded in World War II. James’ parents supported him and his nine siblings through manual labor as neither of them had graduated from elementary school. And James began his career of public service early, acting as a crossing guard for his elementary school.
James joined the U.S. Army in 1983 and spent over 24 years serving our nation. During that service he was the Chief Administrator Supervisor United States Army Southern Command, an U.S. Army Assistant Inspector General assessing equipment and staff to ensure they are able to perform effectively. He also servedn the garrison community office overseeing military installation in Panama & Puerto Rico that supported 65,000 troops at the time.
After completing his distinguished military service, James and his late wife, Lawanda, moved to Eugene in 2007. He immediately found ways to begin giving back to the local community, assisting local nonprofits and serving in local government. James has also served the public as the chair of the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, a member of the Bethel School District Budget Committee, and the City of Eugene Police Commission. He co-founded a nonprofit foundation that provides financial support and learning tools for students from low-income and historically underserved communities to attend college.
James has served as a State Senator since 2016. He represents Eugene, Elmira, and Veneta. In the Oregon Senate, he has led efforts to provide good jobs and workforce training through public construction projects, transform our healthcare system to reduce costs and expand access, and stop gun violence. He has also championed strategies to make housing more affordable, help those experiencing homelessness, and expand access to addiction treatment and mental health care.
James is also adjunct professor of organizational leadership at Brandman University. He is an active athlete and plays chess. He has six sons and eight grandchildren.
2022 Lane Community College Distinguished Alumni Award
2021 Looking Glass Community Services Community Leadership Award
2019 Community Alliance of Tenants Housing Champion Award
2018 Democratic Party of Lane County Chili Cookoff Winner
2017 Oregon Nurses Association Rising Star
2017 Oregon ALF-CIO Rookie of the Year
Manning served a key role in adopting reforms to improve our criminal justice system including banning the use of chokeholds by law enforcement; revoking the certification of police officer who use excessive force, abuse their lawful authority, or engage in discriminatory policing; and expanding background checks to prevent members of hate groups and racist organizations from serving in law enforcement.
Senator Manning was the chief sponsor of the law empowering state and local governments to ensure contracts provide opportunities for apprenticeships, workforce training, and good benefits for workers on public projects.
In 2017, Manning sponsored the Oregon Reproductive Health Equity Act to provide Oregonians with the strongest protections for reproductive rights in the nation.
Manning has been the key champion to adopt universal health care in Oregon to ensure that we reduce the cost of care and that everyone can access the care they need.
Manning helped push legislation to reduce gun violence including banning the sale of untraceable “ghost” guns, authorizing schools and colleges to have gun-free campuses, and requiring the safe storage of firearms to ensure children cannot access them.