Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr. Bio

State Senator James F. Clayborne Jr. (D-Belleville) has tirelessly promoted the growth of safe and healthy families since he took office in 1995. He represents the 57th Senate District, which includes most of the Metro East portion of Illinois.

The senator serves as Senate majority leader, chairman of the Assignments Committee and serves on the Energy and Public Utilities, Executive and Insurance Committees.

Clayborne graduated from Tennessee State University in 1985, and in 1988 earned his juris doctorate degree from the University Of Miami School Of Law in Coral Gables, Florida. He is a former assistant state's attorney in St. Clair County. Additionally, he served as a child support prosecutor, a supervisor in the St. Clair County Juvenile Abuse and Neglect Division, a supervisor in Felony Probation Revocations and a felony prosecutor. He also was one of 50 attorneys selected nationwide to participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Law Institute in Quantico, Virginia.

Clayborne is a founding Partner of Clayborne, Sabo and Wagner LLP. Prior to starting his own firm, he was a partner with Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP for 23 years. His extensive public service career also includes a number of positions from 1988 to 1990 with the St. Clair County State’s Attorney’s Office (Assistant State’s Attorney, Child Support, Misdemeanor Supervisor, Juvenile Supervisor, Felony Probation Revocation Supervisor, and Felony Prosecutor), an internship with the Dade County State’s Attorney’s Office, and a judicial clerkship with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. He also served a judicial clerkship with the Legal Service of Eastern Missouri.
The senator has worked to diversify the business climate of Illinois. Clayborne passed legislation requiring day and temporary labor agencies to collect racial, ethnic and gender information from each person who requests employment to better monitor the state’s efforts to diversify its workforce.

Clayborne also passed legislation to address long-standing concerns about the state’s Business Enterprise Program, which requires at least 20 percent of state contracts to be awarded to companies owned by minorities, women, veterans or persons with disabilities.

Evidence of Clayborne’s success can be seen in the opening of the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, a project that employed 3,877 minority workers and contracted with 117 small, minority-owned businesses from economically disadvantaged areas.

In his free time, the senator participates in many civic and community organizations.

Clayborne is the recipient of the “Legislative Excellence Award” from the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois. He was awarded the Regional Commerce and Growth Association of Metropolitan St. Louis’ “Statesman Award” in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Additionally he has received the Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents “Friend of Education Award,” Novagradac Journal of Tax Credits community Development “Individual Achievement Award,” “Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award” from USMCA (US Minority Contractors Association), the “Trail Blazer” award from the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (MBEIC/Chicago MSDC) and most recently the “Impact Award” Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee of Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (MBEIC/Chicago) MSDC in 2016. Clayborne has been rated by Martindale-Hubbell for ethics and legal ability.

His awards also include the 1996 “Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award” from the Illinois Health Care Association, the 1997 “Legislative Recognition Award” from the Illinois Primary Health Care Association, and the 2008 “Administrators Exemplary Service to Education Award” from the Illinois Association of School Administrators. Clayborne has received the “Legislator of the Year Award” from the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association for the last four years.

Clayborne was born in St. Louis. He is married to Amber P. Clayborne and has four sons and a stepdaughter.

Sen. Clayborne


57th District
Senate Majority Leader

Years served:
1995 - 2018

Committee assignments: Assignments (Chairperson); Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities; Executive (Vice-Chairperson); Insurance; Subcommittee on Gov. Operations (Sub-Chairperson); Sub. on Auto Insurance Rates; State & Pension Fund Invest, Spec.; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On.

Biography: Attorney; born Dec. 29, 1963, in St. Louis; B.S., political science, Tennessee State University; J.D., University of Miami; partner with his firm Clayborne, Sabo and Wagner; (Belleville); former St. Clair County Assistant State's Attorney; has four sons.