James S. Brady achieved a lifelong career goal with his appointment by President Ronald Reagan in January of 1981 to be Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary. However, his service was interrupted on March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley attempted to assassinate the President, and shot both President Reagan, Mr. Brady, and two law enforcement officers. Although seriously wounded by the gunshot wound to the head, Mr. Brady remained the White House Press Secretary until the end of the Reagan Administration.
Since leaving the White House, Mr. Brady has spent much time lobbying with his wife Sarah, Chair of Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI), for stronger gun laws. On November 30, 1993, President Clinton signed the "Brady Bill", a bill named in Mr. Brady's honor, into law. The Brady law requires a national waiting period and background check on all handgun purchases through licensed dealers. Mr. Brady also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, HCI's sister organization, which is a 501 (3)(c) organization working to reduce gun violence through education, research, and legal advocacy. In addition, Mr. Brady serves as Vice Chairman of the National Head Injury Foundation as well as the Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability.
Prior to serving in the Reagan Administration, Mr. Brady was Spokesperson for the Office of the President-Elect and had served as Director of Public Affairs and Research for the Reagan-Bush Committee.
Mr. Brady's tenure in Washington began in 1973 when he moved from Chicago to serve as a Communications Consultant to a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. From late 1973 to 1975, he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, which was followed by a position as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget from 1975 to 1976. He left OMB to serve as an Assistant to the Secretary of Defense from
1976 - 1977. He joined the Staff of Senator William V. Roth, Jr., (R-DE) in 1977, and left in 1979 to serve as Press Secretary to then-presidential candidate Gov. John Connally.
During 1961 - 62, Mr. Brady was a staff member in the Office of Senator Everett M. Dirksen, Minority Leader of the U.S. Senate. During the summer of 1962, he was an Honor Intern at the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. Mr. Brady returned to Illinois, where he held the following positions: faculty member at Southern Illinois University, 1964 - 65; Assistant National Sales Manager and Executive Manager to the President, Lear-Seigler, 1965 - 66; Director of Legislation and Public Affairs for the Illinois State Medical Society, 1966 - 68; Whitaker and Baxter's Chicago Office Manager, 1968 - 69; Executive Vice President of James and Thomas Advertising and Public Relations, 1969 - 73.
Mr. Brady was born in Centralia, Illinois, August 29, 1940. He was graduated from the University of Illinois in 1962, where he earned a B.S. degree in Communications and Political Science.
Currently, Mr. Brady and his wife, the former Sarah Kemp, reside in Arlington, Virginia, with their son, Scott. Mr. Brady also has a daughter, Melissa.
Excerpts from: Handgun Control