James G.


James G. McGrath


Jack Rowan



Download Audio Interview (109.4 MB)

Download Transcript of James McGrath Interview (349 KB)


James "Jim" McGrath, a former New Party member and Missoula city council member (1996-2004), discusses his involvement with progressive politics and the fractious nature of issue-oriented progressive groups. McGrath recalls his first New Party meeting and notes his amazement that progressive groups had come together under the New Party banner. He describes his decision to run for office in 1995, his success as a Democrat with New Party sympathies, and his successful reelection campaign in 1999. McGrath relates the obstacles he and the New Party faced, the “red-baiting” the party endured, and the Chamber of Commerce’s and the Democratic Party’s growing enmity. McGrath points to the Living Wage campaign and its 1999 defeat as a ballot initiative as an example of this opposition. McGrath describes his political achievements including passing a revised version of the Living Wage Bill in 2001, passing a pesticide ordinance in 1995, and supporting development control and affordable housing measures.

The interviewee's full birth date has been restricted in both the audio and transcript for this interview.

Document Type

Oral History


New Party, United States; New Party, Missoula, Montana; Political parties, Montana; Political parties, United States; Living Wage Campaign (1990s), Montana; Living Wage Campaign (1990s), United States

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Missoula New Party Oral History Project, OH 400, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana-Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 400-002

Media Type


Original Format

1 sound cassette (01:00:00 min.) analog

Digital Format


Run Time

01:54:20 minutes

Local Filename


James G.