Jim Nicholson (U.S. politician)

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Jim Nicholson
5th United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
In office
January 26, 2005 – October 1, 2007
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byAnthony Principi
Succeeded byJames Peake
United States Ambassador to the Holy See
In office
September 13, 2001 – January 26, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byLindy Boggs
Succeeded byFrancis Rooney
Chair of the Republican National Committee
In office
January 17, 1997 – January 18, 2001
Preceded byHaley Barbour
Succeeded byJim Gilmore
Personal details
Robert James Nicholson

(1938-02-04) February 4, 1938 (age 85)
Struble, Iowa, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Suzanne Ferrell
EducationUnited States Military Academy (BS)
Columbia University (MPP)
University of Denver (JD)
Military service
AllegianceUnited States of America
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1961–1991
RankUS-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsBronze Star
Combat Infantryman Badge
Meritorious Service Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross
Air Medal (2)

Robert James "Jim" Nicholson (born February 4, 1938[1]) is an attorney, real estate developer, and a former Republican Party chairman. He was the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs from January 26, 2005 until October 1, 2007.[2]

Political career[change | change source]

Nicholson has never held elected office, but has long been active in the Republican Party. In January 1986, he was elected committeeman from Colorado for the Republican National Committee (RNC). In 1993, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the RNC, and was the "surprise pick"[3] for GOP national chairman in January 1997. He served in that position through the 2000 presidential election.

Between 2001 and his appointment to the position of Secretary of Veterans Affairs, he served as United States Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican).

Business career[change | change source]

Before becoming active in civilian government service, he worked as a lawyer in Denver, Colorado, specializing in real estate, municipal finance and zoning law. In 1978 he founded Nicholson Enterprises, Inc., a developer of planned residential communities, and in 1987 he bought Renaissance Homes, a custom-house builder. He now works in the Washington, D.C. office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber & Schreck LLP.

Military service[change | change source]

He is a 1961 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and served eight years in active duty. He was a paratrooper and Ranger-qualified Army officer. He fought in the Vietnam War, where he earned the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two Air Medals.

After thirty years of working in the Army, he retired in 1991 with the rank of Colonel.

Personal life[change | change source]

Nicholson was born on a farm near Struble, Iowa. Nicholson has described his childhood as "growing up dirt poor in a tenant house without plumbing and sometimes without food".[4] His brother is Vietnam War general John W. Nicholson.

Nicholson has a Master's degree in Public Policy from Columbia University. He received a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver in 1972.[5] In May 2005, he was given the Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy Award.

Nicholson is married to the former Suzanne Marie Ferrell of Highland Falls, New York, who is an artist. They are the parents of three adult children.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "U.S. Envoy Thanks Pope for Prayers and Closeness". Zenit News Agency. Archived from the original on October 14, 2004. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  2. "Nicholson to Leave VA and Return to the Private Sector". Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  3. Coloradan Nicholson to lead Veterans Affairs Archived 2005-05-14 at the Wayback Machine, a December 2004 Denver Post article
  4. Official transcript of Nicholson's nomination, whitehouse.gov; Accessed March 13, 2007.
  5. "College of Law History - Image Collection - Alumni". Archived from the original on 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
  6. Official biography - whitehouse.gov.

Other websites[change | change source]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Haley Barbour
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Jim Gilmore
Preceded by
Corinne Claiborne Boggs
U. S. Ambassador to the Holy See
Succeeded by
Francis Rooney