* Born: Yazoo City, Miss., Nov. 30, 1953.
* Education: BA, Howard University, 1975; JD, University of Santa Clara School of Law, 1978.
* Military service: None.
* Career: Managing attorney, Central Mississippi Legal Services, 1978-80; assistant secretary of state, Mississippi, 1980-84; assistant attorney general, Mississippi, 1984-85; US representative, 1987 to present.
* Personal: Married to Sheila Bell; two children.
* Assessment: Espy, Mississippi's first black congressman since Reconstruction, serves on the Agriculture Committee and represents a rural district (most of the nation's catfish are farmed by his constituents). He lobbied heavily for the job of agriculture secretary.