James Gelfand became president and CEO of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) in April 2023, having previously served as its senior and then executive vice president for eight years. He was promoted to the position of president in June 2022.
James oversees all aspects of the association’s activities, which focus on programs that shape federal and state health and retirement benefit policies, and that impact ERIC member companies’ ability to operate under federal ERISA protection from a patchwork of conflicting state and local laws. He has brought prominence to ERIC among federal and state lawmakers, thought leaders, and major companies in the U.S. and globally. James provides strategic leadership to ERIC’s legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; membership and partnerships; and communications and operations, to achieve ERIC’s mission and implement the directives of ERIC’s Board of Directors.
James first joined ERIC in 2005, when he was appointed a policy research associate, then health policy research manager for more than two years. He next led health policy efforts at the U.S Chamber of Commerce and served on Capitol Hill as counsel to Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) on the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) on the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee. James also served as an associate project director for Luntz Global Partners, where he helped spearhead the firm’s political practice during the 2014 election, and then led the federal affairs team at the March of Dimes Foundation, where he successfully advanced policies critical to the health of women and children.
James has been recognized as a top industry lobbyist by both the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics and The Hill. Since 2018 he has served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Arlington, VA-based Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance (MMHLA). MMHLA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the mental health of mothers in the United States, with a focus on national policy and health equity. MMHLA is a staunch advocate for improved mental health care during pregnancy and postpartum.
James earned his J.D. at George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC, and his undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Legal Studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife and son.