United States Representative James A. Traficant, Jr. was born May 8, 1941 in Youngstown, Ohio. He was educated in the Youngstown parochial school system where his athletic ability earned him a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. Following graduation from Pitt in 1963, where he enjoyed remarkable success as both a quarterback on the Panther football team and a student in the Department of Education, he went on to receive his Masters degree in both counseling and administration at Youngstown State University.
From 1971 to 1981, Jim Traficant served as the director of the Mahoning County Drug program where he established and directed a Parent Awareness Group in Ohio to educate families about substance abuse, and expanded the number of community crime watch and drug enforcement programs. His initial entry into the political arena came when he was elected Sheriff of Mahoning County, followed by his first year in the United States Congress in 1984, a position in which he has been re-elected five times, each time garnering at least 72 percent of the vote. In 1992, he received the third highest number of votes of any House member.
Well-known for his Buy America legislation, Traficant also made national headlines by refusing to enact foreclosure orders on the homes of several unemployed workers. He openly defied a court order and spent three days in jail to protest the proceedings and draw attention to the plight of unemployed homeowners. His willingness to assist with all worthy public endeavors is well documented; the list of congressional and career accomplishments seems endless. He has appeared on The CBS Morning News, the Donahue Show, CNN's Crossfire, Good Morning America, and America's Most Wanted, among others.
Congressman Traficant and his wife, Patricia, are the parents of two daughters. He has been of great assistance to the formation of the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, and is hereby inducted this day, July 5, 1998.