The Great Grandson of Lt General James Longstreet had served in the United States Army and then retired. He entered politics serving as a Congressman from Virginia for two terms and as Secretary of the Army during the last two years of the Reagan Administration and then the first two years of the Baker Administration. He was elected as Governor of Virginia and in 1988 considered running for President but decided to support Sen Fred Thompson. He spoke on Fred's behalf at many stops in the campaign. When Fred won he asked James to be his Vice President.