James began his professional and community service as a state corrections officer, and later a police officer, railroad special agent and private investigator prior to enlisting into the United States Army 1 April 1983. During his military career a few of his distinguished assignments included Military Diplomat to the Australian and New Zealand Defense Forces, U.S. Army Assistant Inspector General, Garrison Community NCO, and Chief Administrator Supervisor United States Army Southern Command.
Other distinguished military leadership positions included assignments as Battalion Training Officer/Detachment Sergeant Major for a deployed unit, Postal Supervisor (Military Post Office), and U.S. Army Drill Sergeant (basic combat training). James honorably retired from the United States Army after over 24 years active service.
Since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 James and wife Lawanda (married 38 years) moved to Eugene where he continues to volunteer his time and unique talents serving his community on a number of nonprofits, local, and state boards and commissions.
In the nonprofit area, James served as a Board of Director for Pearl Buck Center Inc., and volunteered as a Loaned Executive for United Way of Lane County (2011 campaign). Currently, he is appointed to the Bethel School District Budget Committee (Committee Chair 2015) and the Bethel School District Long-Term Facility Planning Committee. He is a Co-founder of a community supported nonprofit foundation that provides scholarships to underrepresented and low income area students.
James was appointed by two Oregon governors to the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, serving three consecutive terms as Chair. He served six years as a member of the City of Eugene Police Commission chairing the Police Commission Outreach Resources Committee, co-chaired the Gang Awareness Planning Committee, and has been a member of the policy screening committee. He mediated over 300 sessions as a volunteer mediator for Lane County Circuit Courts Small Claims Department and in 2012, James was elected to the Eugene Water and Electric Board.
James was appointed to the Oregon State Senate for Senate District 7 December 12, 2016. A few of his top priorities are quality education, living wage jobs, and safer neighborhoods and communities for all Oregonians. Veteran's issues are among his top legislative priorities.
Associate of Arts Law Enforcement, Baccalaureate of Arts Criminal Justice Administration, Master of Arts Organizational Leadership, and is now in the dissertation development phase for his Education Doctorate Organizational Leadership with emphasis on Organizational Development. He holds various advanced and professional certificates.