Jim is a native of Kinston, NC and is a graduate of South Lenoir High School. He was the first person in his family to attend college. He paid his own way through college with the help of a GI Bill, student loans and a Pell Grant. He is a graduate of Lenoir Community College and he transferred to North Carolina State University, where he received his Bachelors Degree. He went back to school while working full time and earned a MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Jim enjoyed a successful career with a focus in the Health Care Sector. Early in his professional career, he worked as a recruitment professional with a primary focus on Surgical Services and Cardiac Programs. His recruitment background led him to the Dental Industry, where he worked with Dental Service Organizations for two decades and developed skills in Operations, Process Improvement and Analytics.
As his career steadily advanced, he eventually became Chief Operating Officer of an organization with 240 locations in 40 states, and roughly 2,700 employees under its umbrella. He has completed multiple private equity transactions during his career, and served on various boards.
In January 2019, Jim was selected to replace N.C. Senator Louis Pate who retired due to health reasons. As a strong advocate for eastern North Carolina, Senator Perry was honored to take on the responsibility of following in Senator Pate’s footsteps and serving as a voice for the people of Eastern NC in the General Assembly. Perry soundly defeated a primary challenger in 2020, winning 85% of the vote and every precinct in his home county. He came within 252 votes of winning every precinct in his opponents home county.
Senator Perry is an outspoken supporter of agriculture / agribusiness, our military and economic development in our rural communities. As our state’s urban-rural divide continues to grow, he believes it is critical that we have strong and effective leaders in Raleigh that will fight for our rural areas. Senator Perry believes in building relationships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, and working to find common ground when able to do so. “Every issue is not political and you need votes to pass legislation. We need to help others understand our story in Eastern NC.”
Senator Perry’s work ethic, candid communication and proven track record have all led to a broad base of community support. He was elected to serve in Senate leadership during his first full term, when his colleagues unanimously voted for him to serve as Majority Whip of the NC Senate. He is Chairman of Healthcare, Chairman of Appropriations on Health and Human Services and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Storm Related River Debris and Damage. Additionally, he serves on Finance, Appropriations – Base Budget, Rules and Operations of the Senate, Redistricting and Elections, and Pensions / Retirement.
Senator Perry lives in Lenoir County with his wife, Rebecca, and daughters, Taylor, Reagan and Jordan. They share their home with two spoiled Labrador Retrievers and four very opinionated cats.