Jim Range, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
- FYI, Jim Range, Chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation
Partnership, died on January 20.
James D. Range, 63, died peacefully, surrounded by family and loved
ones, on Tuesday, January 20 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester,
Minnesota after an extraordinarily courageous battle with kidney
Range was one of the nation's most prominent champions of natural
resource conservation. He was known in Washington and throughout the
United States as a skilled policy strategist with an extraordinary
bipartisan network of friends and contacts. Along with his political
adeptness, he possessed an oratorical gift and was known as someone
who always spoke from his heart with passionate conviction. A life-
long outdoorsman, Range was instrumental in the conservation and
continued protection of many different corners of the American
landscape and was a passionate advocate for the country's fish and
wildlife and their habitat. Perhaps best known as a long-time advisor
to former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, he also was known
personally to countless people as a beloved confidant, friend and
At the time of his death, Range worked as senior policy advisor in
the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and
served as Chairman of the Board of the Theodore Roosevelt
Conservation Partnership, an organization he co-founded in 2002. He
was instrumental in the founding of the Bipartisan Policy Center and
worked as an advisor to that organization.
Mr. Range was chief counsel to Senator Baker during the period
between 1980 and 1984 when the senator served as Majority Leader.
From 1973 to 1980, Range served as minority counsel to the U.S.
Senate's Committee on the Environment and Public Works. He was
counsel to the National Commission on Water Quality in 1972.
From 1984 through 1992, Range worked as Vice President of Government
Affairs for Waste Management, Inc., and from 1992 to 1994, Range
served in the identical capacity for Rust International, Inc., a
subsidiary of WMX Technologies, Inc.
"Jim Range was a dedicated, loyal and trusted member of my staff who
helped to fashion some of this country's most vital environmental
legislation," Sen. Baker said. "Of all his efforts to promote
comprehensive oversight concerning clean air and clean water, Jim was
especially helpful with a project that was of particular importance
to me. He was an essential part of the team that was able to come up
with a unique approach that allowed the creation of the Big South
Fork National River and Recreation Area located in Tennessee and
Kentucky. Were it not for Jim Range and a few others, this idea would
have never been possible. Jim and I continued working together,
outside of our formal positions in government, to try to influence
responsible care for our country's all important natural resources in
a bipartisan spirit. I will miss Jim's counsel, but more importantly,
I will miss him."
In his 1986 book "Running in Place: Inside the Senate," James A.
Miller described Range as " a legislative cowboy a southern, tough-
talking, Jack Daniels-drinking, boyishly handsome, charismatic lawyer who long ago made the right connections on his way up north. At 36, the blustery Range has become one of a handful of key aides recognized by senators and staff alike as an authoritative source of crucial information about the Senate's agenda."
Many of Jim's beneficial contributions to natural resource law are
well-known. He played an instrumental role in the crafting and final
passage of a string of landmark laws, including the Clean Water Act,
but his true cumulative influence on behalf of America's fish and
wildlife resources is inestimable. Jim attributed much of the success
he and his colleagues had in the policymaking arena to their ability
to work in a bipartisan fashion, putting America's outdoor resources
above party politics. He often paraphrased President Ronald Reagan,
saying, "It's amazing what you can get done in this town when you
don't worry about who gets the credit."
Aside from service as Chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation
Partnership's Board of Directors, Range served on the Boards of
Directors for Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, the Wetlands America
Trust, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, the American
Sportfishing Association, the American Bird Conservancy, the Pacific
Forest Trust, the Yellowstone Park Foundation, and the Bonefish and
An original board member and Chair of the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation, Range also was a White House appointee to the Interstate
Commission on the Potomac River Basin, the Sportfishing and Boating
Partnership Council and the Valles Caldera Trust.
In 2003, Range received the U.S. Department of the Interior's Great
Blue Heron Award, the highest honor given to an individual at the
national level by the Department. He was also awarded the 2003
Outdoor Life Magazine Conservationist of the Year Award and the
Norville Prosser Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the American
Range was profiled by Time magazine in 2005 for his efforts to expand
the availability of conservation easements, and a Wall Street Journal
story that same year highlighted Range's successful efforts to
engineer the rollback of an excise tax that was unintentionally
placing American fly rod manufacturers at a huge competitive
disadvantage. Of Range and Rod DeArment, a former chief of staff to
Bob Dole when he was Senate majority leader, the Journal reported, "The men worked together to push through pillars of the
Reagan agenda -- tax cuts in 1981 and the last big reform of the
Social Security system in 1983 -- but also were allies in a little-
noticed 1984 law that placed excise taxes on fishing gear and some
motor fuels into a trust fund that sponsored state programs to clean
up rivers and improve fishing ecosystems."
When still serving as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee, Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico said of
Range, "Jim Range has been one of those rare individuals who has
dedicated his life to bringing opposing parties together to unite
for a common good. He did it as a senior staff in the United States
Senate working on clean air, clean water, and wildlife issues. He is
still doing it in the conservation field now with the Theodore
Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. I truly believe that if
extremists on both sides of the environmental spectrum could learn
from Jim's wisdom and work, the whole country would be better off."
Range enjoyed a wide variety of outdoor activities, but loved hunting
and fishing the most. He pursued both passions all over the world but
ended up falling in love with Montana and its trout and game birds.
He spent as much time as he could at his property on the Missouri
River in Craig, Montana, the Flyway Ranch. Range graciously hosted
many important events over the years for leaders from political,
business, non-governmental organization and media circles. It was his
personal bastion of respite as he found relief from his many
commitments and busy schedule on the waters of the Missouri River
with a fly rod in his hands.
In addition to hunting and fishing Jim enjoyed pastimes close to
home. Jim was an avid backyard birder and loved tending to his
perennial garden. He had a special place in his heart for orchids,
which he raised in a greenhouse dedicated to that purpose. He had a
multitude of bird feeders that he faithfully replenished throughout
the year. Jim's back garden in the springtime was a magical oasis of
colorful blossoms and birds, scent and song, where he loved to work
in the early morning and relax in the evenings. Jim was also a
renowned gourmet cook. Friends far and wide were drawn to his table,
where they knew they would enjoy an exceptional mealusually
featuring fresh game or fishnumerous libations and lively political
debate that would last late into the early morning hours.
Growing up in Johnson City, Jim learned his love of the outdoors in
the mountains of Tennessee. He was an Eagle Scout, acting as an
aquatics instructor at Camp Tom Howard, attending National Camping
School and working at Philmont Scout Ranch. He attended Science Hill
High School. Range attained a B.S. degree at Tulane University, a
M.S. in fisheries biology from Tennessee Tech, and graduated from the
University of Miami School of Law.
Jim is survived by twin daughters Kimberly Range Truesdale and
Allison Range, both of Arlington, Va.; his father Dr. James J. (Bud)
Range of Johnson City, Tenn. and Marco Island, Fla.; brothers Harry
of Marietta, Ga., John Neel of Braselton, Ga. and Peter of Richmond
Hills, Ga.; and friend Anni Ince-McKillop and her two children, Greg
and Jess McKillop of Washington, DC. Range was preceded in death by
his mother, Estelle Range.