James most recently served as a Senior Fellow and Director of The Citizenship Project at the Heritage Foundation. She led Heritage's efforts to restore a strong ethic of citizenship and civic responsibility and provided expert opinion to elected and appointed officials nationwide on issues affecting parents, their children and society. Prior to joining Heritage, Jams served as Dean of the School of Government at Regent University and Chair of the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. James served as Secretary of Health and Human Resources for former Virginia Governor George Allen where she designed and implemented Virginia's landmark welfare reform initiative. Under former President Bush, James was an Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services.
James has been active in the analysis, development and implementation of American public policy for the past 20 years in senior positions in the public and private sectors and is a frequent commentator and lecturer on a variety of domestic policy issues. Before serving in the Allen Administration, James was senior vice president of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. She also served under President George H. W. Bush as associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and as assistant secretary for public affairs at the US. Department of Health and Human Services. She was appointed by President Reagan and re-appointed by President George H. W. Bush as head of the National Commission on Children. James has served on the Fairfax County and Virginia State Boards of Education, as well as the boards of the Coalition of Christian Colleges and Universities, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Young Life. She has also served on the boards of Amerigroup, Inc., PhyCor, Inc., Focus on the Family, and the Center for Jewish and Christian Values.
A graduate of Hampton University in Hampton, VA, Jams is the author of Never Forget, her 1993 autobiography, Transforming America: From the Inside Out (1995), and What I Wish I'd Known before I Got Married (2001). She lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband, Charles. They have three children.