Jim Yocom, President Elect

I was born in a small town (about 10,000 people) in the Mojave Desert. When at age 14 I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, I was awed at the snow and size of the city (a staggering 160,000). My little sister and I took a bus downtown to see an Indiana Jones movie and we marveled at the cord you’d pull to make the bus stop and how the bus driver could remember all of the streets.

Living in Seattle in the early 1990s was magical. So much innovation and energy–great place to be a young man striking out on his own. Not knowing anything about college, I picked the University of Washington based on the art on the cover informational brochure. All of that water and the lush green everywhere! After graduating I worked in a tall, downtown skyscraper. The 64th floor had amazing views for several months out of the year, but for many months it meant living in a gray box within a rain cloud where you couldn’t tell what time of day it was.

Eventually, I headed to graduate school in Madison, Wisconsin. Academia suited me. Sociological research and teaching suited me. Wisconsin less so, though I was very proud of my photos with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Brat Fest and with the Butter Maidens at the Corn Festival. I met my spouse in Madison, a stolid Minnesotan whose love for the Midwest was deep and infectious. Eventually Rob and I found our way to Corvallis, Oregon and then Portland, Oregon, where I transitioned to a legal career. I focused on community-building law (a lot of nonprofits and small businesses) with a dollop of tax, bankruptcy, and a sprinkle of other cases. Though I had always had at least one foot in various social-justice leadership roles, I was most involved in Portland.

In 2017 we moved to Raleigh and I transitioned back into academia. We joined UUFR promptly; the sermons, people, and opportunities for involvement were pretty hard to resist. In addition to my deepening involvement with UUFR, I spend my time reading extensively and wrangling various research projects. Two badly behaved miniature dachshunds don’t make this easy. But my years out here are shaping up to be my best yet.