About James Cargas
James Cargas first worked in the U.S. Congress as a Capitol Hill intern. Then in 1988, after graduating from the University of Michigan with a double major in English and Communications, he returned to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Press Secretary to a Michigan Democrat. By this time, Texan Jim Wright of Fort Worth was Speaker and Ronald Reagan was President. It was a time when the Republicans controlled the White House and the Democrats Congress , and they discussed their differences, put aside hardcore and obstinate ideologies, worked hard to find solutions that kept the federal government operating, and remained focused on serving the American people that elected them. It was how Congress had operated successfully since its formation in 1789.
In 1992, James graduated from The American University’s Washington College of Law where he served as President of the Environmental Law Society and Article Editor of The American University Journal of International Law and Policy (now The American University International Law Review). During law school, he was a law clerk to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Solicitor when Texan Martin Allday was Chairman. Upon graduation, he worked first in a large law firm and later as environmental counsel to a major interstate pipeline company. He is admitted to practice law in Texas, Washington DC, Michigan and West Virginia.
He left the private sector and joined the Clinton/Gore White House and the President’s Council on Sustainable Development which promoted clean wind and solar energy, hybrid vehicles, sustainable resource development, and other means of improving the American economy without sacrificing the American environment. A dozen years later many of these sustainable ideas and technologies are being adopted to increase economic efficiencies and reduce climate change.
After leaving the White House to work on the Gore Presidential primary campaign in Iowa and Texas, James Cargas rejoined the administration under Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson. There he worked in the Office of Fossil Energy, which was led by the former Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman Robert Gee. He represented the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on the President’s Task Force on the Southwest Border and was part of the DOE team promoting greater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico’s ultra deepwater using newer, safer and environmentally protective technologies developed with taxpayer funding in the National Labs and elsewhere. A decade later, some of the largest domestic oil and gas discoveries are now coming from the Gulf using these new technologies.
When Bill Richardson returned to New Mexico to become Governor, James permanently moved to Houston and became Deputy Director of the non-profit North American Energy Standards Board. This opportunity gave him a stronger understanding of the intricacies of the electric industry, as well as how it was interdependent with the natural gas industry. After three years, he returned to private practice where he represented several startup companies in the energy marketing, directional drilling, and other industries.
In 2008, Mayor Bill White hired him as the City of Houston’s energy counsel responsible for advising the Mayor on all aspects of energy procurement and energy transactional matters. Today, he works for Mayor Parker’s City Attorney and also advises the City on contract, environmental, real estate and regulatory matters.
James Cargas is a board member of the Houston Chapter of the Energy Bar Association, the North American Energy Standards Board, and Green Door, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to connecting individuals and communities not currently engaged in the green movement to the green economy. He is a founding member of the Oil Patch Democrats, a democratic club that promotes realistic energy policy, a member of the Environmental Law Institute and an Eagle Scout. As the son of a former owner of restaurants, he is an accomplished cook and has a firm understanding of what it takes to be a small business owner.
James and his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, a neuroimaging scientist at the Baylor College of Medicine, met at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science and live only a few blocks away in the Southampton neighborhood. They are members of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.
With the consent of the people of the 7th Congressional District, James Cargas is looking forward to returning to the U.S. House of Representatives as part of a reenergized Congress willing to put egos and personal ideologies aside and focus on moving our nation forward again. He is promising that gridlock, government shut downs and threats of default that cause havoc to a weak American economy will not be part of his agenda. Legislation is an ongoing process of improvement; not a hostage to be taken by members of Congress willing to self-detonate the American economy along with the people that depend on it.