At 20-years-old, Alexander
became the National Convention
coordinator for the Rockefeller
He took a break from politics bet-
ween 1968 and 1976 for other in-
terests, including college and law
school. But he never forgot politics,
and now he intends to remain behind
the scenes as a political insider.
"I love it," he says. "My second
date with my wife was the Republican
National Convention in Detroit."
In 1976, Alexander served as
Western Oakland County coordinator
for Circuit Court Judge Francis X.
O'Brien. In 1978, he wrote speeches
for Circuit Court Judge Alice
Gilbert's Supreme Court race.
In 1980, when Alexander lived in
Southfield, he chaired the city's
Reagan-Bush Committee and was a
17th congressional district delegate.
From 1981-83, he was regional vice-
chairman of the 17th district.
Recently, he served as Oakland
County co-chair for the Bush-Quayle
committee. He has been the county
Republican campaign chairman since
1982. He was the executive director
for the Michigan Jewish Coalition
and also seved on the Lawyers for
Bush committee and the Oakland
County Executive committee.
J . im Alexander's political idol
is the late Sen. Robert F.
Kennedy — an odd match for
a Republican activist.
Although a moderate, the
recently elected chair of the
Republican Committee of Oakland
County is like Kennedy — a self-
Alexander believes in the ideology
expressed in a quote about RFK by
his youngest brother, Sen. Ted Ken-
nedy: Some people see things as they
are and ask why. I dream things that
were not and ask why not.
"There is nothing that can't be
done. I want things done," says Alex-
ander, 40, who Republican leaders
believe is the first Jewish person
elected to the county post.
Alexander credits RFK as being
the brains behind John F. Kennedy's
presidential victory in 1960. "At 35,
he made his 42-year-old brother presi-
dent;' Alexander says. "That's amaz-
ing. I don't ever want to hear the word
As Jewish voters gradually shift
away from their historical allegiance
to the Democratic Party, Alexander
hopes to lure them into Republican
politics at the grass-roots level. He
wants to increase political awareness
in Oakland County and add more
Jewish candidates to the local slate.
State Rep. David Honigman of
West Bloomfield is the only Jewish
Republican office holder from
Oakland County. If Alexander has-his
way, that will soon change.
"I am looking for prospective
Jewish candidates who believe in the
Republican platform," Alexander
says, adding that recent political
mudslinging between both parties
shouldn't hurt his mission.
Fears spread among Jews when
the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who sought
the 1988 Democratic presidential
nomination, tried to pass a pro-
Palestinian platform during last sum-
mer's Democratic National Conven-
tion in Atlanta.
Local Republican chief Jim Alexander
Newly elected Oakland County Republican
chief Jim Alexander hopes to add more
Jewish candidates to his political team.
Similar concerns surfaced on the
Republican side after several workers
resigned from the Bush-Quayle cam-
paign team amid allegations that
they were connected with neo-Nazi
and anti-Semitic groups.
"NTe along with President Bush
will just have to maintain our strong
ties with Israel," Alexander says.
ntil 1968, Alexander, a Bir-
mingham attorney, worked
for people — not either par-
ty. He had been working for
RFK's presidential cam-
paign before he was assasinated.
Later, Alexander went to work for his
second favorite candidate, Nelson
Rockefeller, a Republican.
Among his first duties as a
Republican voice for the county was
attending the recent inauguration of
President George Bush in Washing-
ton. With this week's district conven-
tions behind him, Alexander is
preparing for next week's Republican
state convention in Grand Rapids,
where party members will elect
district and state officers.
In his first few months on the job,
Alexander hopes to spread his
message throughout the community
with speaking engagements and
"Jim Alexander is a first-class
guy;' says his mentor, Ed Levy, a
longtime Republican and national
president for the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee. "I am very
proud of Jim." 111
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS