Just after high school, Jim married his best friend Julie, and they started their family soon after. While Jim was completing a degree in Education at St. Cloud State University, he and Julie earned a living performing as professional folk musicians in venues from Avon to Elk River. In 1974, as a testament to his belief in the power of education, Jim became a teacher at Holy Spirit Elementary School in St. Cloud.
Two years later, with little more than a goal and a Smith Corona typewriter, Jim launched his own small business, called Intra Financial Corporation, out of a makeshift office in his basement. By 1979, he had founded the AmericInn™ hotel chain. As a result of Jim’s tenacity, business knowledge and problem-solving skills, that small company grew into a mid-size, family business now known as Graves Hospitality. Over the past three decades, Jim has built more than a hundred businesses, creating thousands of private sector jobs in small towns and cities throughout the Sixth District and across the state.
Jim attributes his success to the fact that he treats everyone with dignity and respect, isn’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and work hard and brings diverse perspectives together for common solutions.
Grateful for the support and trust that he has received over the years, Jim is thrilled to have the opportunity to give back and serve the community that has given him so much. He looks forward to providing the people of the District the representation they truly deserve and so desperately need. Jim is committed to creating greater opportunities for others to reach their own American dreams.
Jim and Julie have been married 39 years and are actively involved in the lives of their three sons, three daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren.